On Tuesday (Aug. 1), Donald Trump was hit with a new indictment by a grand jury over accusations of trying to overthrow the 2020 presidential election — one that saw him lose to Joe Biden. Consisting of four counts across 45 pages, said charges include conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, attempting to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiring against people’s civil right to have their vote counted. The maximum prison sentence the former president can potentially receive is 20 years.
“The attack on our nation’s capital on Jan. 6, 2021 was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy,” said Special Counsel Jack Smith during a news conference (below). “As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies — lies by the defendant, targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government.” Not long after, Trump took to his Truth Social app to deny the accusations, describing the entire situation as “prosecutorial misconduct.”
As reported by The Washington Post, the last of the aforementioned charges violated Section 241 of Title 18 of the United States Code, created as part of the Enforcement Act of 1870. This act — along with the Enforcement Act of 1871 and Ku Klux Klan Act — was installed to enforce the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, revisions created to eliminate slavery, protect the rights of former slaves, and shut down voter disenfranchisement “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
Since Section 241’s inception, members of the Ku Klux Klan and other extremists have been convicted for harmful attacks against African-Americans and other minorities in the U.S. Prior to Trump’s indictment, the most recent example took place in 2021, when far-right Twitter user Douglass Mackey was charged for spreading disinformation during the 2016 election cycle. He was convicted of those charges this past April and will be sentenced in August. He faces 10 years behind bars.
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