A grand jury in the US state of Georgia issued a detailed indictment that includes the fourth set of criminal charges against former US President Donald Trump in connection with his attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election in which he lost to Democratic President Joe Biden.
Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis indicted Trump late on Monday, adding to Trump’s legal woes even though he is the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in next year’s vote.
The massive 98-page indictment listed 19 defendants and 41 criminal charges in total.
The charges against them all included extortion being used to target members of organized crime groups and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Among the defendants, Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, and attorneys Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.
“Instead of adhering to the legal process in Georgia regarding the electoral contest, the defendants engaged in criminal extortion to overturn the result of the state’s presidential election,” Willis told a news conference.
Willis noted that Trump and the rest of the defendants have until Friday noon local time (1600 GMT August 25) to voluntarily surrender and turn themselves in rather than be arrested.
Willis said she intends to try all the defendants together.
Lawyers for the defendants either declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The case relates to a January 2, 2021 phone call in which Trump urged Georgia’s chief election official, Brad Raffensburger, to find enough votes to reverse his narrow defeat in the state, but Raffensburger refused to do so.
Trump supporters stormed the Capitol four days later in an attempt to prevent members of the House of Representatives from certifying Biden’s victory, an attempt that failed.
The indictment includes a number of crimes it says Trump or his aides committed between the period before the November 3, 2020, and September 2022 elections, including giving false testimony to lawmakers that voting fraud occurred and urging state officials to change the outcome.
The indictment also includes what crossed state lines, as it stated that Giuliani, Meadows, and others contacted officials in the states of Arizona, Pennsylvania, and other regions to urge them to change the outcome in those states; Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
In a statement ahead of the indictment, his campaign accused Willis, an elected Democrat in office, of having frenzied partisan motives to undermine his bid for the election.
“This is a dangerous effort by the ruling class to stifle people’s choice,” the statement said.
Trump has already pleaded not guilty to three criminal charges.