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Trump says he’ll release report on election ‘fraud’ after latest charges

Former US President Donald Trump says he will release a detailed report next week on what he called “election fraud” in the state of Georgia in 2020, after he was charged with trying to overturn his election defeat.

Photo: AP/Alex Brandon

Photo: AP/Alex Brandon

Trump made the announcement on Tuesday in a post on his Truth Social media app.

Since his defeat in 2020, Trump has repeatedly made false claims that the election was marred by widespread fraud. Those claims have been rejected by courts, state reviews and members of his own administration.

He faces a new set of legal woes after a Georgia grand jury charged the former US president over a scheme to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

Brought late on Monday by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the charges accuse 2024 Republican frontrunner Trump, and 18 associates, over a scheme intended to reverse his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

The sprawling 98-page indictment listed 19 defendants and 41 criminal counts in all.

All the defendants were charged with racketeering, which is used to target members of organised crime groups and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, and lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and John Eastman were among those charged.

“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,” Willis said at a press conference.

Trump and the other defendants have until noon local time on Friday, August 25, to surrender voluntarily, rather than face arrest, Willis said. She said she intends to try all 19 defendants together.

Trump called the indictment a “witch hunt” in a social media post and accused Willis of trying to sabotage his presidential comeback bid.

Since his defeat in 2020, Trump has repeatedly made false claims that the election was marred by widespread fraud. Those claims have been rejected by courts, state reviews and members of his own administration.

The indictment cites a number of crimes that Trump or his associates allegedly committed from before the November 3, 2020, election until September 2022, including falsely testifying to lawmakers that election fraud had occurred and urging state officials to alter the results.

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It says the defendants tried to subvert the US electoral process by submitting false slates of electors, people who make up the Electoral College that elects the president and vice president.

It alleges that defendants breached voting equipment in a rural Georgia county, including personal voter information and images of ballots.

Prosecutors also said the defendants harassed an election worker who became the focus of conspiracy theories.

The indictment reaches across state lines, saying that Giuliani, Meadows and others called officials in Arizona, Pennsylvania and elsewhere to urge them to change the outcome in those states.

The indictment mentions 30 other co-conspirators, though they were not named or charged.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty in three other criminal cases.

He faces a New York state trial in March 2024 involving a hush money payment to a porn star, and a federal trial beginning in May in Florida for allegedly mishandling federal classified documents. In both cases Trump pleaded not guilty.

A third indictment, in Washington federal court, accuses him of illegally seeking to overturn his 2020 election defeat. Trump denies wrongdoing in this case as well, and a trial date has yet to be set.

-with AAP

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