How the six people cited in Trump's indictment could spell trouble for him - USA Trending Blog

How the six people cited in Trump's indictment could spell trouble for him - USA Trending Blog

How the six people cited in Trump's indictment could spell trouble for him - USA Trending Blog

The federal government's criminal indictment of Donald Trump lists six people who allegedly conspired with him to try to steal the 2020 election, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a former Justice Department official and a political consultant.

Any of the six could deepen Trump's already dire legal jeopardy should they decide to cooperate with special counsel Jack Smith to avoid facing criminal charges of their own.

Former prosecutors and other legal analysts told USA TODAY they were struck by the fact that Smith did not announce charges against any of the six even though the indictment describes them as crucial cogs in a broad Trump-led conspiracy to try to overturn Joe Biden's victory. In a process known as "flipping," prosecutors often use the implied threat of potential criminal charges to pressure suspected co-conspirators into cooperating against their main target in this case Trump.

And if Smith can get even a few to flip, it would help his case tremendously.

None of the six were cited by name in the indictment, but USA TODAY has determined the identities of four: Giuliani; former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark; and attorneys John Eastman and Sidney Powell.

A fifth appears to be attorney Kenneth Chesebro. A sixth was identified only as “a political consultant who helped implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors” to block Congress from officially certifying Biden’s win and paving the way for the orderly transfer of power from one administration to the next.

Former Trump White House special counsel Ty Cobb was one of several legal analysts who said one of the most likely reasons Smith didn’t seek indictment of the six is because he’s trying to pressure them into providing incriminating evidence against Trump and to possibly testify against him at trial.

Cobb said the indictment, from what it says and doesn’t say, makes clear that the grand jury hearing evidence in the case is still working and looking at additional charges. And the fact that the six are listed as conspirators, and not unindicted co-conspirators, he said, suggests Smith intends to seek grand jury indictments of them “unless they work out some arrangement with the government." 

A lawyer for Eastman, Harvey Silverglate, said in a statement that his client has not and will not be engaged in plea bargaining in the case with state or federal prosecutors. USA TODAY reached out to representatives of others believed to be named in the indictment but got no response.