Mueller Indicts 13 Russians in First Charges of 2016 Election Investigation

Charges point to illegal “scheme” aimed at interfering with election results

Last Updated: February 16, 2018 @ 12:09 PM

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups on Friday.

He charged them with breaking the law by using social media to disrupt the election and to offer an advantage to Donald Trump over his opponent Hillary Clinton.

The indictment marks the first charges in the investigation.

“The nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists,” Rod J. Rosenstein, said deputy attorney general during a Friday news conference at the Justice Department.

The DOJ’s legal filing states that the 13 Russians and Russian groups conspired since 2014 to break laws aimed at keeping non-Americans from funding ways to influence federal elections, and that they duplicitously posed as U.S. citizens, stole others’ identities and involved themselves in other acts of fraud and deceit in order to influence the election process.

The Russians were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., three of which were also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Five defendants have been charged with aggravated identity theft.

The indictment accused those charged with working with an unidentified American, who advised them to focus on the battleground states of Colorado, Virginia and Florida, while they traveled inside the U.S.

Read the 37-page indictment here.