Former US President Donald Trump and several of his allies were indicted on Monday night in Georgia following a lengthy investigation into Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in the southeastern state.
Trump and 18 others were charged with "criminal attempts to interfere in Georgia's presidential election," Fani Willis, Fulton County district attorney, told reporters late on Monday night.
The charges in the 94-page indictment arise "from a criminal conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election in this state," Willis said.
The grand jury indictment against Trump is the fourth brought against the Republican politician this year. It could also lead to the first televised trial of a former president.
Trump already faces three other criminal indictments, including once by US Special Counsel Jack Smith on charges of trying to overturn his election defeat to US President Joe Biden.
What charges is Trump facing?
Trump was charged with a total of 13 felony counts in the Georgia case, including conspiracy to commit forgery, submit false statements and impersonate a public official.
He also faces a charge of racketeering, which is used in cases to take down organized crime groups.
The indictments also named 18 co-defendants within Trump's circle, including his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as well as the ex-president's former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
What happened in Georgia?
The case stems from a January 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump urged Georgia's top election official, Brad Raffensperger, to "find" enough votes to reverse his narrow loss in the state. Raffensperger declined to do so.
Biden defeated Trump in Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes during the 2020 election.
Four days later, on January 6, 2021, and two weeks before Trump was due to leave office, his supporters stormed the US Capitol in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent lawmakers from certifying Biden's victory.
Trump is the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election. He has long dismissed the many investigations he has faced in his years in politics as a politically motivated "witch hunt."
What have been some reactions so far?
In an e-mail seeking funds for his campaign that was sent shortly after the indictment was announced, Trump made another statement in this vein.
This was "the FOURTH ACT of Election Interference on behalf of the Democrats in an attempt to keep the White House under Crooked Joe's control and JAIL his single greatest opponent of the 2024 election," he said.
His legal team also decried the indictment as politically and/or personally motivated, calling it "unconstitutional."
It said the indictment was based on a "one-sided grand jury presentation" that "relied on witnesses who harbor their own personal and political interests — some of whom ran campaigns touting their efforts against the accused and/or profited from book deals and employment opportunities as a result."
However, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 presidential election, told broadcaster MSNBC the indictment showed that justice in the US was working.
At the same time, she called it "a terrible moment for our country, to have a former president accused of these terribly important crimes."
tj,dh/rs (AP, AFP, Reuters)