2. SOUNDBITE (English) Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General:
"A grand jury in the District of Columbia today returned an indictment presented by the special counsel's office. The indictment charges 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the United States political system including the 2016 presidential election. The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States with the stated goal of spreading distrust toward the candidates and the political system in general. According to the allegations in the indictment 12 of the individual defendants worked at various times for a company called Internet Research Agency LLC, a Russian company based in St. Petersburg. The other individual defendant Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin funded the conspiracy through companies known as Concord Management and Consulting LLC. Concord catering and many affiliates and subsidiaries.
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3. SOUNDBITE (English) Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General:
"Now there is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election. I want to caution you that everyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court. At trial prosecutors must introduce credible evidence that is sufficient to prove each defendant guilty beyond any reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury. Special Counsel's investigation is ongoing. There will be no comments from the special counsel at this time. "
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General
"This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the Internet. The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy. We must not allow them to succeed. The Department of Justice will continue to work cooperatively with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies and with the Congress to defend our nation against similar current and future efforts."
Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities were charged Friday with an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, federal prosecutors announced Friday.
The indictment, brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.
The charges are the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling in the election.
The goal, the indictment says, was to "sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election."
Charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The charges arise from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether there was improper coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
Before Friday, four people, including Trump's former national security adviser and former campaign chairman, had been charged in Mueller's investigation.
The White House had no immediate response to the indictment.