Clerk explains how false-alarm document was posted ahead of Trump indictment in Georgia: ‘I am human’

Accidental document dump inspired waves of criticism on the right

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 16 August 2023 15:37 EDT
Donald Trump indicted for fourth time

A court clerk in Fulton County, Georgia, has admitted to accidentally posting then removing a court document online on Monday that seemed to confirm Donald Trump was being indicted before the actual conspiracy charges against the former president and his allies were announced later that day.

"I am human," Ché Alexander, the Fulton County Clerk of Courts, told local outlet WSB-TV on Tuesday. "And that’s how the mishap happened."

The official said she had "no dog in the fight” in the much-watched case, describing how the posting was not an intentional leak but an accidental release while she was testing the court’s information distribution systems.

"I did a work sample in the system. And when I hit save, it went to the press queue,” she added. "It wasn’t an official document. It wasn’t official charges. It was the dry run. It was a work sample.”

The accidental release made ripples across the political world earlier this week, as observers across the country waited to hear the results of the Fulton County grand jury investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in Georgia.

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In an email to his supporters asking for donations to his campaign, Donald Trump claimed the document was another sign of the “Witch Hunt” against him and asked his supporters for more money.

“This is an absolute DISGRACE. These rabid left-wing prosecutors don’t care about uncovering the truth. They don’t care about administering justice or upholding the rule of law,” he wrote to his donors in an email with the subject line “LEAKED CHARGES AGAINST ME.”

“The Grand Jury testimony has not even FINISHED – but it’s clear the District Attorney has already decided how this case will end.”

Online commentators also began speculating that the document was a hack or maybe a leak, likening the event to the controversial 2022 leak of a draft opinion of the Supreme Court’s eventual decision overturning Roe v Wade.

Republican lawmakers also joined the pile-on.

“This is OUTRAGEOUS government conduct and is a very legitimate basis to deem the entire Grand Jury process tainted & corrupted,” Florida Representative Matt Gaetz wrote on social media. “MOTION TO DISMISS!!!”

Earlier this week, Fulton County officials told The Independent that the original, accidental release was “fictitious” and not meant to provide any information on the Trump case, which would eventually be revealed to contain 41 charges against 19 individuals.

“Unfortunately, the sample working document led to the docketing of what appeared to be an indictment, but which was, in fact, only a fictitious docket sheet,” they explained. “Because the media has access to documents before they are published, and while it may have appeared that something official had occurred because the document bore a case number and filing date, it did not include a signed ‘true’ or ‘no’ bill nor an official stamp with Clerk Alexander’s name, thereby making the document unofficial and a test sample only.”

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