Former US President Donald Trump finds himself facing yet another legal battle, as he and 18 other individuals have been indicted on 41 charges, including racketeering, stemming from attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. This marks the fourth time this year that Trump has faced criminal charges.

The indictment, issued by a Fulton County grand jury, states that Trump and his associates knowingly participated in a conspiracy to unlawfully alter the election outcome in his favour. Among the other defendants named in the indictment are notable figures such as Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney; Mark Meadows, his former Chief of Staff; John Eastman, a constitutional lawyer; and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official. The group is accused of engaging in activities that span from false statements and writings to impersonating public officers, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, and even computer trespass.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis initiated the investigation in February 2021, in response to allegations of election meddling against Trump and his associates. The indictment paints a picture of a criminal organisation, with the defendants facing charges typically associated with organised crime groups.

The most significant charge in the indictment is violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. This statute, originally crafted to combat organised criminal entities such as the mafia, enables prosecutors to establish connections between high-level orchestrators and their subordinate participants. If convicted under the RICO Act, the defendants could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Trump has consistently denied all accusations brought against him, asserting his innocence in each case he currently faces.

Coinciding with these legal developments is Trump’s prominent role in the Republican Party’s selection process for their next presidential candidate. Despite facing multiple criminal charges, including an indictment related to the Georgia election meddling investigation, Trump continues to command significant influence within his party.

Trump labelled the investigation led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, as politically motivated.

An incident on Monday brought further confusion and controversy to the case. A list of criminal charges against Trump, including racketeering, conspiracy to commit fraud, and making false statements, surfaced on the Fulton County website prior to the official indictment vote by the grand jury. The document’s premature release prompted Trump and his supporters to assert that the legal proceedings were manipulated or biased.

District Attorney Fani Willis’s spokesperson referred to the document as fictitious and provided no clear explanation for its appearance on the court’s website.

The investigation led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has honed in on Georgia, a battleground state that played a pivotal role in the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election. Trump narrowly lost the state to Biden. It’s within this context that the accusations of election meddling have gained traction.

A pivotal piece of evidence emerged in January 2021, when a recorded phone call between Trump and Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, came to light. In the call, Trump was heard urging Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes, the exact number needed for Trump to surpass Biden’s vote count in Georgia.