Former United States President, Donald Trump, has been criminally charged in a federal investigation into efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election.
According to BBC News, Trump was accused of conspiracy to defraud the US, tampering with a witness and conspiracy against the rights of citizens.
The indictment caps an inquiry into events surrounding the riot two-and-a-half years ago at the US Capitol. Although, the former president denies wrongdoing.
Trump is charged in two other cases: with mishandling classified files and over a porn star’s hush-money payment.
Earlier on Tuesday Trump took to social media to accuse special counsel Jack Smith in an all-capital-letters post of being a “deranged” liar and describing the investigation as “election interference”.
He is currently the frontrunner in the Republican party’s contest to pick its candidate for next year’s presidential election. The winner will challenge the Democratic nominee, President Joe Biden, in November 2024.
The investigation has focused on his actions in the two-month period between his election loss and the riot in Washington DC, where Trump supporters stormed Congress as lawmakers certified Biden’s victory.
The indictment accuses Trump of a “conspiracy to impair, obstruct, and defeat the federal government function through dishonesty, fraud and deceit”.
About Trump’s allegations of voter fraud, prosecutors said, “These claims were false and the defendant knew that they were false.”
They also say that after failing to convince Vice-President Mike Pence to attempt to block Mr Biden’s certification, Mr Trump continued – including on the day of the riot – to attempt to find ways to avert his loss.
“As violence ensued, the Defendant and co-conspirators exploited the disruption by redoubling efforts to levy false claims of election fraud and convince members of Congress to further delay the certification based on those claims.”
The indictment also lists the numerous US officials and senior Trump campaign workers who, it says, informed Mr Trump that he had lost and that there was no evidence of voter fraud.
Dozens of top Trump administration officials and advisers were interviewed as part of the special prosecutor’s investigation, including former Vice-President Pence and former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Those who have testified before the grand jury said they were asked about efforts by Trump’s team to organise slates of “fake electors” who would claim he had defeated Biden in seven key states.
Prosecutors in the state of Georgia are also investigating the former president on similar grounds, focusing on whether he illegally pressured officials there to discard Biden’s poll victory.
A decision by prosecutors in Atlanta on whether to indict Trump is expected this month.
In June, Smith’s team charged Trump in a different case with mishandling classified documents. A trial on that indictment is due to begin in a federal court in May 2024 – months before the presidential election.
Trump has also been charged in New York City with falsifying business records over 2016 hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Recent opinion polls show his support among Republican voters has risen in the past four months, despite the charges.
Trump has vowed to keep running for the White House election of November 2024, regardless of whether he is convicted in any of the cases against him.