Donald Trump indictment: What are the charges, what happens next and can he still run for president?

Video report by ITV News' Robert Moore and Dan Rivers, words by Digital Content Producer Elaine McCallig

Former US President Donald Trump has been charged over his efforts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election - and is expected in court on Thursday.

The newest charges - Trump's third criminal indictment this year - centre on the tumultuous events of 6 January 2021 when rioters attempted to stage an insurrection at the US Capitol building.

The indictment - a formal charge or accusation of a crime - describes how Trump repeatedly told supporters and others he won the election despite knowing it was false, and how he tried to persuade state officials, his own vice president and finally Congress to overturn the real results.

Due to the “dishonesty, fraud and deceit” by Trump and some of his closest allies, the indictment says, his supporters “violently attacked the Capitol and halted the proceeding.”

ITV News outlines what the charges are, what happens next, and looks at whether or not the former president's mounting legal woes will dash his hopes of running in the 2024 election.

What new charges does Trump face and what do they mean?

On Tuesday it was announced that Trump would face four criminal charges over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

1. Obstruction of an official proceeding

The obstruction charge refers to the January 6 2021 joint session of Congress at which electoral votes were counted to certify Biden as the winner.

The same charge has been brought against hundreds of Capitol rioters, with more than 100 convicted at a trial or pleading guilty.

2. Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding

It is alleged that Trump conspired to obstruct congressional certification of Biden's election win.

3. Conspiracy to defraud the US

The indictment alleges that Trump used “dishonesty, fraud and deceit" to obstruct the counting and certifying of the election results.

The charges stem from what prosecutors say were illegal efforts to subvert the election results and block the peaceful transfer of power.

4. Conspiracy to prevent others from carrying out their constitutional rights

This charge relates the right to vote and have one’s vote counted.

ITV News' US Correspondent Dan Rivers outlines the gravity of the case Trump faces

What happens next?

Trump is due to be arraigned - a US term meaning someone is called to court to answer a charge - in Washington DC on Thursday.

He will appear before Judge Moxila Upadhyaya at 4pm local time (9pm BST). It is up to the judge whether Trump will appear virtually or in person at the E. Barrett Prettyman courthouse.

Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith said he would seek a speedy trial for the former president and stressed that Trump deserves the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

On the obstruction charge alone, he could face up to 20 years in prison. Conspiracy to defraud the US, another charge he faces, carries penalties of up to five years behind bars.

Despite the swarm of criminal accusations Trump faces and the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade, a New York Times/Siena poll published yesterday showed Trump and incumbent Joe Biden are tied at 43%.

The poll also showed that Republican voters favour Trump over his closest competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, with 54% picking Trump and just 17% choosing DeSantis.

It is likely the legal and political calendars could combine next year with Trump due to face federal charges in May in Miami, weeks before the Republican convention to pick their candidate.

DeSantis (right) is Trump's closest competitor for the Republican nomination. Credit: AP

If Trump goes to jail, can he still run for president?

In short, yes. There is nothing in the US Constitution that would prohibit Trump assuming the Oval Office even if he was convicted.

“The Constitution has very few requirements to serve as president, such as being at least 35 years of age. It does not bar anyone indicted, or convicted, or even serving jail time, from running as president and winning the presidency,” election law expert Professor Richard L. Hasen told CNN.

“How someone would serve as president from prison is a happily untested question,” he added.

Trump could potentially try to pardon himself if he is convicted before the election and if victorious in the election.

But whether or not he can successfully do so is untested, Hasen said, adding that he could potentially appeal a conviction to the conservative Supreme Court.

However, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says that no one can hold any office in the US if they previously took an oath to support the Constitution and then "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same".

The House January 6 committee previously recommended that Congress should bar Trump from ever holding federal office again, citing the above amendment.

He could also potentially be impeached - for an historic third time - or removed under the 25th Amendment which allows the baton to be passed to the vice president if the president is unable to do their job.

And, naturally, a prison cell may not be the most ideal setting for a president to carry out their duties.

ITV News' crew was the only news organisation inside the Capitol at the time of the riots on January 6, 2021 - watch the full report below

What other probes is Trump facing?

The 6 January case is Trump's third indictment this year.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and says he is being targeted by Democrats trying to keep him from reclaiming the presidency.

There have been a number of high-profile probes against the former president in recent months:

1. Classified documents

He was previously charged in Florida over the mishandling of classified documents, including sensitive documents on nuclear capabilities.

That historic indictment - the first federal case against a former president - contains 40 felony counts against him including charges of retaining classified information, obstructing justice and making false statements.

The trial is due to take place on 20 May next year.

2. Hush money

Trump became the first former US president in history to face criminal charges when he was indicted in New York in March on state charges stemming from hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

He pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The counts are linked to a series of cheques that were written to his lawyer Michael Cohen to reimburse him for his role in paying off porn actor Stormy Daniels, who alleged a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

3. Civil cases in New York

New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued Trump and the Trump Organisation, alleging they misled banks and tax authorities about the value of assets including golf courses and skyscrapers to get loans and tax benefits.

A civil trial is scheduled in state court for October.

In a separate civil case in federal court in New York, Trump was found liable in May of sexually abusing and defaming former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s. The jury rejected Carroll’s claim that Trump had raped her in a dressing room.

Trump was ordered to pay $5 million (£3.9m) to Carroll. He has appealed and has adamantly denied her accusations. In July, a federal judge upheld the jury's verdict against Trump.

4. Fake electors in Georgia

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating whether Trump and his allies illegally meddled in the 2020 election in Georgia.

The probe was sparked when a recording of a 2 January 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was released. During the call, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could “find 11,780 votes” - just enough to overtake Biden and overturn Trump’s narrow loss in the state.

Some 16 Republicans who served as fake electors could face criminal charges.

The fake electors signed a certificate asserting Trump had won the election and declaring themselves the state’s rightful electors.

Willis has suggested that any indictments in the case will likely come this month.

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