Trump indicted: The New York and Georgia cases compared

The offices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis are each nearing decisions on whether to indict former President Donald Trump in separate cases. (Seth Wenig & Ben Gray/AP file)

Credit: Seth Wenig & Ben Gray

Credit: Seth Wenig & Ben Gray

The offices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis are each nearing decisions on whether to indict former President Donald Trump in separate cases. (Seth Wenig & Ben Gray/AP file)

For years, criminal investigations have been underway in New York and Georgia into former President Donald Trump. On Thursday, media outlets, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, reported that a grand jury in Manhattan had voted to indict Trump, the first time a sitting or former president has been indicted. The specific charges were not revealed.

Here’s how the two compare:

What they involve:

Georgia: Election meddling by Trump and his allies in the aftermath of the 2020 election

New York: Hush money paid to former porn star Stormy Daniels

Who’s investigating:

Georgia: A special purpose grand jury was impaneled in May 2022 and spent eight months investigating the election interference claims. They authored a final report for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis with recommendations on who they thought should be indicted. Those recommendation have not been made public. Willis will ultimately decide who to seek charges against.

New York: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Soon after he was elected Bragg shelved an ongoing probe into whether Trump fraudulently inflated the value of his business properties. Bragg said he was not persuaded the evidence was strong enough. In recent months, the charges involving Daniels resurfaced in front of a grand jury in Manhattan.

What’s the timing?

Georgia: When she addressed a court hearing in January, Willis said decisions on indictments were “imminent.” It is now looking likely that they could come later this spring. Although they received recommendations from a special grand jury, Fulton prosecutors must present evidence to a regular grand jury to obtain indictments.

New York: The Manhattan DA’s office hasn’t said but Trump announced that he expected to be arrested and charged on Tuesday, March 21. That did not happen. News of the indictments was reported by media outlets on Thursday.

Who are the witnesses?

Georgia: About 75 witnesses appeared before the special grand jury in Fulton County. They included Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, former U.S, Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and the late House Speaker David Ralston. Some appeared voluntarily and others had to be subpoenaed.

New York: A grand jury in Manhattan heard from Trump’s former fixer and lawyer, Michael Cohen. Robert Costello, another Trump lawyer, also testified on Monday. Costello briefly represented Cohen, but the two had a falling out. Cohen went on to plead guilty in connection to the hush money payments and was sentenced to three years in prison.

What are the potential charges?

Georgia: Some of the state laws believed to be under consideration are racketeering, conspiracy, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and making false statements.

New York: Trump could be charged with violating a New York law against falsifying business records. Under the legal theory, Trump would be charged with creating fictitious records to pay off Daniels $130,000 in October 2016 after she threatened to expose their alleged affair.

What has Trump said?

Georgia: The former president has lambasted Willis as theRacist D.A. from Atlanta, whose city is among the most violent and dangerous places per capita in the country.” He has endorsed a bill from state Republicans that would rein in the power of local prosecutors.

New York: Trump has attacked Bragg, calling him a “racist” and accusing him of leading a politically motivated prosecution. Republicans have piled on. U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused Bragg of “abusing his office to target President Trump.” Republicans are now threatening to investigate his office.

Who are the DAs?

Georgia: Willis, 51, took office in 2021 after an upset win over her former boss, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. She was the lead prosecutor in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal, where educators in the city were convicted in a scheme to illegally boosting student test scores. She is the first woman to hold the DA’s seat in Fulton County.

New York: Bragg, 49, was elected in 2022, becoming Manhattan’s first Black district attorney. In his role as an assistant attorney general in New York, he clashed frequently with Trump over civil matters. He was also assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Does Trump face any other legal exposure?

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the former president’s handling of classified documents and the role he may have played in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. A special counsel, Jack Smith, has been appointed to oversee the criminal cases.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a $250 million civil lawsuit against Trump, his three adult children, the Trump organization and others alleging a widespread fraud scheme involving false financial statements and improper valuation of real estate assets.

About the Author