Former President Donald Trump speaks at GOP Convention in Georgia

With Trump facing several charges, how will this affect his candidacy for President of the...
With Trump facing several charges, how will this affect his candidacy for President of the United States? Dr. Jeffrey Budziak, Associate Professor of Political Science at Western Kentucky University, said it may not have as big of an effect as one might predict.(WBKO)
Published: Jun. 10, 2023 at 9:46 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2023 at 5:35 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (Atlanta News First/AP) - Former President Donald Trump spoke at the GOP Convention in Georgia on Saturday.

ORIGINAL STORY: Former U.S. President Donald Trump just landed at an airport in the Columbus area on Saturday ahead of his scheduled speech at the GOP Convention in Columbus.

Delegates at the state’s GOP convention showed overwhelming support for Trump despite the news of an indictment. This news has strengthened their support for him.

Alton Russell said Trump supporters are more resolved that they want to support him as the Republican presidential nominee.

“We had his commitment he will be here. They’ve been attacking Donald Trump since the day he said he was going to run,” said Russell.

RELATED: Donald Trump still coming to Georgia GOP convention despite indictment

BJ Van Gundy has been to dozens of conventions. This year’s convention is the first time a presidential nominee or a former president with speak at the Georgia GOP convention. He believes Donald Trump got thousands of more Georgians to get involved with the party.

His appearances will come a day after the unsealing of an indictment charging him with 37 felony counts in connection with his hoarding of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

“When the indictment happened, he gained supporters you’ve seen the polls, they go up. He will come here. He will blast everything and say what he wants to say and we will get our message better too. He gets energized by this sort of thing. He’s like a boss in a video game, sucking energy from people he defeats,” said Van Gundy.

Trump claims ‘total exoneration,’ special grand jury recommends perjury charges

Last year, a criminal investigation was opened “into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election.” Fani Willis continues alleging Trump attempted to interfere in Georgia’s election, an election that saw Joe Biden become the first Democrat to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.

A special grand jury with subpoena power was seated in May 2022 at Willis’ request. In court filings, she alleged “a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

Trump’s indictment adds to his list of firsts in American politics:

  • First president to be impeached in the 21st century
  • First president to be impeached twice in U.S. history, as well as the first to be acquitted twice;
  • First president in the 21st century to be defeated in a re-election bid;
  • First Republican president since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to be defeated in a re-election bid;
  • First modern ex-president to lose a re-election bid and then launch a third bid.
  • First ex-president in history to face criminal charges.
  • First ex-president in history to face criminal charges while running a White House campaign.

“The Grand Jury heard extensive testimony on the subject of alleged election fraud from poll workers, investigators, technical experts, and State of Georgia employees and officials, as well as from persons still claiming that such fraud took place,” said the partial release of the grand jury report. “We find by unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney decided to release only portions of the grand jury’s findings. Atlanta News First had requested, along with other media organizations, the grand jury’s full report to be made public. Willis had appealed to McBurney to keep the findings closed, but once McBurney’s decision was announced, Willis said she would not appeal his decision.

Willis said the grand jury heard from 75 witnesses. Some of the more notable figures were Gov. Brian Kemp; Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr; Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger; former lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan; former White House official Mark Meadows; former U.S. House speaker and Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich; and Republican South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Trump has accused Willis of conducting a “strictly political witch hunt.” Trump, who announced his 2024 White House candidacy last November, also continues defending his now-famous phone call with Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021.

Read: Full transcript of Donald Trump’s call to Brad Raffensperger

Last year, Raffensperger told a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that Trump’s claims of 2020 election fraud “were false.”

Raffensperger, along with Gabriel Sterling, the office’s chief operating officer, appeared before the Democrat-led House Select Committee’s nationally televised public hearings.

Raffensperger told the committee that the 2020 election went “remarkably smooth,” with average ballot-casting wait times between two to three minutes statewide. “I felt we had a successful election,” he said.