Crime & Justice

Grand jury votes to indict Trump for Capitol assault, attempt to retain power

Washington, Aug 1 (EFE).- Special counsel Jack Smith announced Tuesday afternoon that he expects and will try to ensure a “speedy trial” for former President Donald Trump after a grand jury voted to indict the ex-president on four felony charges relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by his supporters with an eye toward trying to overturn his loss in the presidential election the previous November.

The US Department of Justice informed Trump earlier on Tuesday that a grand jury had voted to indict him for the third time, and he has been summoned to appear in court at 4 pm on Thursday.

“The attack on our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy,” Smith said in a brief appearance before the press after his office has spent months investigating Trump.

“It was fueled by lies, lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the US government: the nation’s process of collecting counting and certifying the results of the presidential election,” the special counsel added.

While saying that Trump must be considered “innocent until proven guilty” in court, Smith added that his team will seek a “speedy trial” for the ex-president so that evidence his team has collected may be presented in court and weighed by a jury.

He also said that the investigation of other individuals who participated in the attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden, will continue.

The indictment also charges six unnamed co-conspirators: four lawyers, a DOJ official and a political consultant.

The DOJ’s move to hold Trump accountable for his alleged unprecedented effort to block the peaceful transfer of power is encapsulated in a four-count indictment that reveals new details of what is widely viewed – although evidently not by Trump’s diehard supporters or many GOP lawmakers – as a dark episode in US history.

The indictment cites handwritten notes by Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, regarding the president’s unwavering attempts to prevent or reject the counting of electoral votes, accuses Trump and his allies of spreading false claims of election fraud and browbeating or persuading lawmakers to delay certifying Biden’s win.

In his appearance before reporters, Smith read the four charges brought against Trump in the 45-page indictment, including “conspiracy to impair, obstruct, and defeat the federal government function through dishonesty, fraud and deceit.”

The charges also include conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights – the latter being a civil rights law concerning the alleged attempt to disenfranchise voters by trying to overturn the election.

Smith also thanked the police who defended the Capitol from the mob incited by Trump, calling the law enforcement personnel “heroes” and “patriots.”

They not only defended “a building or the people sheltering in it. They put their lives on the line to defend who we are as a country and as a people. They defended the very institutions and principles that (define) the United States,” the special counsel said.

Smith is also investigating Trump for having illegally removed classified documents from the White House when he left office and retaining them at his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort club and residence in South Florida, a case in which the 40 charges have already been filed against the ex-president.

EFE er/ssa/bp

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