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Charged

Donald Trump indicted over attempts to overturn 2020 election

Trump has been charged with three counts of conspiracy and one count of obstruction.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 2nd 2023, 7:05 AM

FORMER US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has been indicted in relation to an investigation into attempts to overturn 2020 election. 

Trump was charged with three counts of conspiracy and one count of obstruction in the 45-page indictment brought by special counsel Jack Smith yesterday evening.

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is accused of conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding: the January 6, 2021 joint session of Congress held to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

“Shortly after election day – which fell on November 3, 2020 – the Defendant launched his criminal scheme,” the indictment, handed down by a grand jury in Washington, said.

“The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud.”

Trump has been summoned to appear before a federal magistrate judge in Washington on Thursday following the indictment.

Earlier Trump said that he expected his imminent indictment by Smith in a fresh criminal case.

Smith had already filed charges against Trump for mishandling top secret government documents and has spent the past eight months investigating the former president’s efforts to overturn the November 2020 presidential election results.

embedded0d35ef7626634021a7f286102de157ae The indictment against former president Donald Trump charging him by the Justice Department for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election Jon Elswick / AP/PA Jon Elswick / AP/PA / AP/PA

“I hear that Deranged Jack Smith, in order to interfere with the Presidential Election of 2024, will be putting out yet another Fake Indictment of your favorite President, me,” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform.

‘Fueled by lies’

Smith, a former war crimes prosecutor at the Hague, said the January 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters was “an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy.”

“It was fueled by lies,” Smith told reporters in brief remarks.

“Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the US government — the nation’s process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election.”

embedded70bfdfbad0764b819a593ffd1e5dbf27 Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media about an indictment of former President Donald Trump J Scott Applewhite / AP J Scott Applewhite / AP / AP

Part of that plan, the indictment alleges, was to have then-vice president Mike Pence use his role as presiding officer over the January 6 joint session to throw out several states’ votes.

Pence ultimately refused, issuing a public statement saying that he did not believe the Constitution allowed him that power.

Pence, who is competing against Trump in the Republican primary, said on Twitter that yesterday’s indictment “serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States.”

Trump said two weeks ago that he had received a letter from prosecutors suggesting he is likely to be criminally indicted over the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol by his supporters.

CNN reported yesterday evening that a grand jury hearing evidence about the investigation had returned an indictment.

The judge agreed to seal the indictment and there was no information given in court about identity of any defendant. The judge also agreed to approve a summons for the defendant or defendants to appear in court.

The indictment was later announced by Smith’s team.

Trump is scheduled to go on trial in Florida in the classified documents case in May of next year, at the height of what is expected to be a bitter and divisive presidential campaign.

In early June, he was charged with 37 counts related to his refusal to return highly classified documents taken to Florida after he left the White House.

Those counts include retention of national defense information, obstruction of justice, and making false statements, and bring up to 20 years in prison.

Smith filed additional charges against Trump in a superseding indictment last week.

Trump is accused in the latest documents of attempting to delete security camera footage at his Mar-A-Lago residence to prevent it from being provided to the FBI and a grand jury.

The former president confronts other investigations as well, including 34 felony counts filed in New York state in April related to hush money payments to a porn star.

Georgia prosecutors are also looking into whether Trump illegally attempted to overturn the 2020 election outcome in the southern state.

The probe was sparked by Trump’s 2 January, 2021 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, when he infamously pressured election officials to “find” 11,780 votes that would reverse his defeat to Joe Biden in the state.

As president, Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives for seeking political dirt on Biden from Ukraine and over the events of 6 January but he was acquitted by the Republican-majority Senate both times.

– © AFP 2023