Former US President Donald Trump has been charged with attempting to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state of Georgia.
A grand jury voted to charge Mr Trump and 18 others with counts that include racketeering.
There are 41 charges, with 13 against Mr Trump. It is the fourth time he has been criminally charged this year.
He has denied all charges. His campaign said the US had become “a Marxist Third World dictatorship”.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched an investigation in February 2021 into allegations of election meddling against Mr Trump and his associates.
After the indictment was issued on Monday night, she announced she was giving defendants the opportunity to voluntarily surrender no later than noon on Friday 25 August. She said she plans to try all 19 accused together.
The list of alleged co-conspirators includes former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former White House lawyer John Eastman.
Others include a former justice department official, Jeffrey Clark, and Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis – two Trump lawyers who amplified unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.
The indictment says the defendants “knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump”.
The former president is accused in the 98-page charge sheet of the following felony counts, including:
– Violating Georgia’s racketeering act
– Solicitation of violation of oath by public officer
– Conspiracy to impersonate a public officer
– Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree
– False statements and writings and filing false documents
The indictment refers to the defendants as a “criminal organization”, accusing them of other crimes including influencing witnesses, computer trespass, theft and perjury.
The most serious charge, violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Rico) Act, is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The act – designed to help take down organised criminal syndicates like the mafia – helps prosecutors connect the dots between underlings who broke laws and those who gave them orders.
Mr Trump, currently the frontrunner in the Republican Party’s race to pick its next candidate for the White House, said the investigation by Ms Willis, a Democrat, was politically motivated.
In a statement, the Trump campaign described the district attorney as a “rabid partisan” who had filed “these bogus indictments” to interfere with the 2024 presidential race and “damage the dominant Trump campaign”.
“This latest co-ordinated strike by a biased prosecutor in an overwhelmingly Democrat jurisdiction not only betrays the trust of the American people, but also exposes the true motivation driving their fabricated accusations,” said the statement.
He is the first former president in US history to face criminal charges.