Trump indicted after special counsel investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election
The indictment of Donald Trump — the second by federal prosecutors and third overall against the former president — alleges that Trump pursued discounting legitimate votes and subverting the 2020 presidential election results through three criminal conspiracies.
Former President Donald Trump has been indicted on four counts following a special counsel investigation into efforts to stop the transfer of power after his 2020 election loss and his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
The charges are conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy against rights and obstruction or attempting to obstruct an official proceeding. The indictment alleges that Trump pursued discounting legitimate votes and subverting the 2020 presidential election results through three criminal conspiracies.
Trump has been summoned to appear at 4 p.m. Thursday before Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington.
The indictment is the result of a lengthy, wide ranging probe by special counsel Jack Smith that scrutinized Trump’s attempts to mislead the public with claims that the election had been stolen, despite his private acknowledgment that he had lost.
For months, federal grand jurors have heard testimony from dozens of witnesses, including Trump’s former attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Governors and local elections officials in battleground states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin have spoken with investigators as part of the probe.
Last Thursday, Trump attorneys Todd Blanche and John Lauro met with prosecutors in the special counsel’s office in Washington.
“My attorneys had a productive meeting with the DOJ this morning, explaining in detail that I did nothing wrong, was advised by many lawyers, and that an Indictment of me would only further destroy our Country,” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform.
Trump announced in a statement posted July 18 on Truth Social that federal prosecutors had informed his legal team that he was a target of their investigation, which is typically a precursor to indictment.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith in November to oversee the investigation into Trump’s efforts to stay in power as well as a second probe focused on the mishandling of classified records at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The FBI recovered the records during an August search of Mar-a-Lago after a months-long effort to get the former president to turn them over and after receiving evidence showing he had not complied with a subpoena ordering him to return the documents.
Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury in that case last month and charged with 37 criminal counts covering seven different violations of federal law, including the Espionage Act. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include willful retention of national defense information and obstruction of the investigation. A grand jury approved additional charges last week, bringing the total number of charges Trump faces in that case to 40.
Trump has framed his ongoing legal challenges as an attempt by Democrats to keep him from securing the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Both federal cases will take months to work their way through the legal system.
“Why didn’t they do this 2.5 years ago? Why did they wait so long? Because they wanted to put it right in the middle of my campaign,” Trump said in a Truth Social post Tuesday.
A special counsel was appointed in large part because Trump had announced plans to run for president again.
Trump is also facing legal challenges at the state level. In Fulton County, Georgia, investigators have examined his efforts to pressure state election officials to “find” the votes needed for him to win the key state in the 2020 election. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta has said an indictment decision will be made by Sept. 1.
In April, Trump was indicted in New York City on charges related to an alleged hush-money payment made to porn actor Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 campaign. That trial is scheduled to take place in the spring.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.