Former U.S. President Donald Trump was indicted on Tuesday in a Justice Department investigation for his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
The indictment is the third criminal case brought against the former president as he seeks to reclaim the White House in 2024.
Prosecutors had been investigating Trump’s efforts to undermine President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, and the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
He was summoned to appear at a Washington, D.C., courthouse on Thursday, August 3.
“Despite having lost, Donald Trump was determined to remain in power.
“So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won,” reads the 45-page indictment.
“These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election,” it says.
Shortly after the election day, Trump also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results.
In so doing, Trump perpetrated three criminal conspiracies: a conspiracy to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud, and deceit to impair, obstruct, and defeat the lawful federal government function; a conspiracy to corruptly obstruct and impede the Jan. 6 congressional proceeding to certify the results of the presidential election; a conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted, says the indictment.
Each of these conspiracies, which built on the widespread mistrust Trump was creating through pervasive and destabilising lies about election fraud, targeted a bedrock function of the U.S. federal government: the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election, it adds.
Six unindicted co-conspirators were mentioned in the indictment, including four unnamed attorneys who allegedly aided Trump in his attempt to overturn the election results.
Also included is one unnamed Justice Department official who “attempted to use the Justice Department to open sham election crime investigations and influence state legislatures with knowingly false claims of election fraud.”
Another unindicted co-conspirator is an unnamed political consultant “who helped implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding.”
Trump was charged in June with mishandling classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Both the classified documents case and the election interference case were investigated by special counsel Jack Smith.
In March, Trump was indicted on New York state charges of falsifying business records in connection with hush-money payments to an adult film actress ahead of the 2016 presidential election