The clerk of the Fulton County Superior Court took responsibility for posting a “sample” criminal case docket appearing to show charges against Donald Trump hours before a grand jury voted to approve the real indictment.
(Bloomberg) — The clerk of the Fulton County Superior Court took responsibility for posting a “sample” criminal case docket appearing to show charges against Donald Trump hours before a grand jury voted to approve the real indictment.
The docket was uploaded into the court’s public case records system and spotted by Reuters before it was taken down, spurring confusion and widespread speculation that Trump already had been charged. The court released a statement later in the day calling the document “fictitious” but didn’t explain what had happened.
In a statement released Tuesday, the office of Ché Alexander, the clerk of the court, called the incident a “mishap” and offered a more fulsome explanation. They said Alexander had created a “sample working document” listing possible charges in order to “conduct a trial run” and anticipate any “issues that arise with entering a potentially large indictment.”
Alexander’s office noted that although the docket sheet had a case number and filing date on it, it didn’t have other hallmarks of a legitimate new criminal case, including a signed version of the cover sheet that a grand jury would return and a stamp with Alexander’s name.
Later that evening, prosecutors did, in fact, present an indictment to the presiding judge against Trump and 18 other codefendants charged with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results.
“The Office understands the confusion that this matter caused and the sensitivity of all court filings. We remain committed to operating with an extreme level of efficiency, accuracy, and transparency,” Alexander’s office said.
The fake list of charges that showed up did match the offenses that ended up in the real indictment, including a violation of the state’s racketeering law, soliciting public officials to violate their oath, conspiracy to commit forgery, and making false statements. The clerk’s office didn’t offer an explanation for how they came up with the list of charges in the “trial run” document.
After Reuters published its original story, Trump’s lawyers called the developments a “major fumble” by the office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis that undermined the credibility of the indictment.
Read More: Trump Indictment Lays Out Sweeping Georgia Election Plot
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