Former US President Donald Trump is in the dock in connection with attempted election fraud and his supporters’ attack on the Capitol. The Republican presidential candidate had to appear before a court in Washington on Thursday (local time) for the formal presentation of the indictment. Shortly before arriving at court, he once again railed against the judiciary, claiming it was “an honor” to answer for his efforts to stop a corrupt election. Trump is the first ex-president in US history to go to court for an alleged crime – and in several cases.
Crimes while in office in the White House? Charges against ex-President Trump
The new indictment is the second federal indictment against Trump, and the third overall. In recent months, Trump has been indicted on two other counts: in connection with paying hush money to a porn star several years ago and for improperly storing classified government documents after the end of his tenure.
Now he is faced with the most serious allegations to date. The 45-page new indictment charges Trump with four formal charges, including conspiracy against the United States. For the first time, it is about alleged crimes during his tenure in the White House. If convicted, the 77-year-old could face decades in prison. According to experts, a conviction would not legally prevent Trump from running in the 2024 election – especially since it is highly questionable whether a final judgment will be available by then.
Trump denies all allegations and sees any legal action against him as an attempt by his opponents to prevent him from returning to the White House. According to polls, he is far ahead in the field of Republican presidential candidates.
Trump railed against Democrats and the judiciary
On Thursday, he once again rated the charges as a political maneuver. “The Democrats don’t want to run against me or they wouldn’t be weaponizing ‘justice’ in such an unprecedented way,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, a platform he co-founded, shortly before his court date in Washington. He should leave the court immediately after the presentation of the indictment. He was expected to plead not guilty through his attorneys, as in the other two cases.
There was an enormous media rush in front of the courthouse in Washington on Thursday. Some supporters and opponents of Trump also came to the court. A Trump critic, Domenic Santana, roamed around the building wearing an inmate costume and holding a sign that read “Lock him up.” He had traveled to Trump’s previous indictment hearings in New York and Miami. “He’s a scammer,” Santana ranted about Trump. Not far from him, an iron Trump supporter, Dion Cini, waved a huge flag with the ex-president’s likeness. Trump is the best president the country has ever had, said Cini. The judiciary is only trying to keep Trump from another presidency with the indictment.
conspiracy against the United States
Special Counsel Jack Smith announced the unprecedented charges against the former President on Tuesday. Trump is accused of orchestrating a conspiracy to defraud the United States, disenfranchise voters and obstruct an official process. In the indictment, Trump is accused of spreading false claims about the election despite knowing better, and of using people in the Justice Department to do so. “Despite his defeat, the accused was determined to remain in power,” it said. Trump knew his fraud allegations were untrue.
Trump led a conspiracy against the United States. He had teamed up with six accomplices who are not named in the indictment. They are four lawyers, one member of the judiciary and one political adviser.
Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. He never admitted his defeat, however, and has since spread false claims that he was robbed of a victory through electoral fraud. At the time, Trump and those around him tried various ways to subsequently overturn the result.
The campaign against the outcome of the election finally culminated in an unprecedented outbreak of violence on January 6, 2021: On that day, Trump supporters stormed the seat of the US Congress, where Biden’s election victory was to be formally confirmed at the time. Trump had once again goaded his supporters in a speech shortly before, claiming that he had been deprived of a victory by massive election fraud. Several people died in the riots.