Former US President Donald Trump denounced the latest indictment against him and several of his allies in Georgia on charges of attempting to subvert the 2020 election loss in the state, saying that the 'witch hunt' against him continues and it 'sounds rigged'.
The Fulton County grand jury indictment of Trump follows a two-year investigation ignited by a January 2021 phone call in which the then-president suggested that Georgia’s Republican secretary of state could help him “find 11,780 votes” needed to reverse his narrow loss to Democrat Joe Biden. The indictment and the list of 19 defendants were announced by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who spearheaded the investigation against the 77-year-old Republican leader.
Other defendants included former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and a Trump administration Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, who advanced his efforts to undo his election loss in Georgia.
What did Trump say?
Taking to his social media platform Truth Social, Trump again raised allegations of 'witch hunting' and called Willis an "out of control and very corrupt District Attorney'. Similar to his last indictment by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, Trump questioned why he was not indicted two-and-a-half years ago and was being prosecuted in the middle of his political campaign.
"So, the Witch Hunt continues! 19 people Indicated tonight, including the former President of the United States, me, by an out of control and very corrupt District Attorney who campaigned and raised money on, “I will get Trump.” And what about those Indictment Documents put out today, long before the Grand Jury even voted, and then quickly withdrawn? Sounds Rigged to me! Why didn’t they Indict 2.5 years ago? Because they wanted to do it right in the middle of my political campaign. Witch Hunt!" he said on Truth Social
In a statement by his campaign on Monday, Trump's political campaign team called Willis a 'rabid partisan' fundraising on a platform to prosecute the former President through 'bogus indictments'. The team also accused the Fulton County District Attorney of trying to interfere with the upcoming presidential election and damage Trump's campaign.
"Combined with the intentionally slow-walked investigations by the Biden-Smith goon squads and the false charges in New York, the timing of this latest coordinated strike by a biased prosecutor in an overwhelmingly Democrat juridiction not only betrays the trust of the American people, but also exposes true motivation driving their fabricated accusations," said the statement.
The team further alleged that Republicans are facing criminal charges for exercising their First Amendment Rights, while Democrats operate without any rules.
Trump's previous indictments
Trump was previously indicted in early August by a federal grand jury for conspiring to undermine the 2020 vote and prevent the peaceful transfer of power through a series of lies and unlawful actions taken after the general election and leading up to the violent riot by his supporters at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He pleaded not guilty in that case.
The latest criminal charge against the former President can lead to watershed moment in US politics as it gears up for next year's elections. Trump is the first presidential frontrunner to be indicted so many tiimes.
"We look forward to a detailed review of this indictment which is undoubtedly just as flawed and unconstitutional as this entire process has been,” Trump's attorneys Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg wrote in a statement on his latest indictment.
Apart from the 2021 Capitol attacks, Smith also charged Trump for illegally retaining classified documents and conspiring with a top aide to hide them from the government and his own attorneys. He was first indicted in March by the district attorney of Manhattan over charges pertaining to paying hush money to an adult film star in 2016, during his presidential campaign.
(with AP inputs)