Donald Trump has been indicted in Georgia for his alleged roles in trying to overturn the 2020 election in the state.
Fani Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, secured the 41-count indictment from a grand jury on Monday, and told a press conference the indictment alleged ‘violations of Georgia law arising from a criminal conspiracy to overturn the results of the election in this state.’
He was charged along with 18 others – Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Mark Meadows, Ken Cheseboro, Jeffrey Clark, Jenna Ellis, Ray Smith III, Robert Cheeley, Michael Roman, David Shafer, Shawn Still, Stephen Lee, Harrison Floyd, Trevian Kutti, Sidney Powell, Cathleen Latham, Scott Hall, and Misty Hampton.
The former president is accused in the 98-page charge sheet of the following felony counts, including: Violating Georgia’s racketeering act, Solicitation of violation of oath by public officer, Conspiracy to impersonate a public officer, Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, False statements and writings and filing false documents
The indictment refers to the defendants as a “criminal organization”, accusing them of other crimes including influencing witnesses, computer trespass, theft, and perjury.
The most serious charge, violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Rico) Act, is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The act – designed to help take down organised criminal syndicates like the mafia – helps prosecutors connect the dots between underlings who broke laws and those who gave them orders.
Mr Trump, currently the frontrunner in the Republican Party’s race to pick its next candidate for the White House, said the investigation by Ms Willis, a Democrat, was politically motivated.
In a statement, the Trump campaign described the district attorney as a “rabid partisan” who had filed “these bogus indictments” to interfere with the 2024 presidential race and “damage the dominant Trump campaign”.
“This latest co-ordinated strike by a biased prosecutor in an overwhelmingly Democrat jurisdiction not only betrays the trust of the American people, but also exposes the true motivation driving their fabricated accusations,” said the statement.
He is the first former president in US history to face criminal charges.
There was confusion earlier on Monday when a list of a criminal charges against Mr Trump appeared on a Fulton County website before the grand jury had voted to return an indictment.
The filing said Mr Trump had been charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit fraud and making false statements.
A spokesperson for Ms Willis said the document was “fictitious” but did not explain how it ended up on the court’s website.
Mr. Trump and his allies seized on the apparent clerical error to claim the process was rigged.
Earlier this month, Mr. Trump was charged by federal prosecutors in Washington DC with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden, a Democrat.
That charge sheet devoted significant time to the Trump team’s activities in Georgia. Mr. Trump has pleaded not guilty in that case.
Ms. Willis’ investigation focuses specifically on Georgia, a key battleground state for the US presidency that Mr Trump narrowly lost.
In January 2021, Mr Trump was recorded on a phone call asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes – the number he would have required to beat Mr Biden in that state.
The indictment outlines an alleged scheme to tamper with voting machines in one Georgia county and steal data.
It also mentions an alleged scheme to submit false lists of electors, officials who make up the Electoral College that elects the president and vice-president.
Mr. Trump also faces a New York state trial on 25 March next year involving a hush money payment to a porn star. And he is due to go on trial in Florida on 20 May on allegations related to his handling of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago residence after his presidency.
In both cases, Mr. Trump also pleaded not guilty.