Former U.S. President Donald Trump and 18 others have been indicted over efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the American state of Georgia.
The indictment is the fourth set of criminal charges against Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Georgia’s state government lawyers accuse Trump, his former lawyers and other aides of a “criminal enterprise” to keep him in power. The legal case uses a law, known as the RICO Act, which is often used to target members of organized crime groups. The indictment contains 41 charges.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told reporters late Monday night: "Rather than abide by Georgia's legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal, racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia's presidential election result.”
The indictment against Trump is a 98-page document. It lists several actions that Georgia government lawyers say Trump, or his allies took to undo the election result. They include a phone call in which Trump reportedly asked a state official to “find” 11,780 votes, harassing election workers, trying to create false electoral college electors, and stealing data from a voting machine.
Trump attacked Willis and called the indictment a "witch hunt" in a social media post overnight. He added, "Why didn’t they Indict 2.5 years ago? Because they wanted to do it right in the middle of my political campaign."
The indictment comes just two weeks after a federal grand jury charged Trump with crimes connected to the 2020 presidential election. The federal indictment said Trump tried and failed to use federal and state officials to overturn the election. It said he blocked the counting of electoral votes certifying President Joe Biden's victory on January 6, 2021, as supporters attacked the Capitol building and police where the process was taking place.
Other legal actions against Trump
Trump has been surrounded by legal troubles since leaving office two years ago.
In June, Trump was charged with illegally holding classified national security documents, obstruction, making false statements, and plotting with others to carry out a crime. A trial has been set for May 2024.
The office of the Manhattan District Attorney in the state of New York charged Trump with criminally falsifying “business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.” That trial is set for next March.
The office of the New York State Attorney General charged Trump and his business, the Trump Organization, with misleading banks and tax officials to get loans and tax benefits. A trial will start in state court in October. Additionally, Trump's company was fined $1.6 million after being found guilty of tax fraud in another New York court in December.
Last May, a New York jury found Trump guilty of sexually abusing and defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll and awarded her $5 million in a civil case. Carroll has brought a second legal case seeking $10 million which is planned for January.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in all cases.
I’m Dan Friedell.
Hai Do wrote this report for VOA Learning English from Associated Press and Reuters sources.
Words in This Story
indict –v. (legal) to officially bring written charges against a person in a court of law
enterprise –n. an activity or business that usually involves risk
abide –v. to accept
racketeering –n. The crime of making money by threatening people or selling worthless, immoral or illegal products or services
harass –v. to repeatedly bother or cause problems for someone over a period of time
certify –v. to officially state that a requirement has been reached for something to be approved or declared
obstruction –n. (legal) to prevent the police from learning the truth about something
fraud –n. the crime of dishonestly taking something of value from another person
defame –v. to hurt the opinion that people have of a person by saying things that are not true about that person