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In criminal law, a formal written accusation of a crime affirmed by a grand jury and handed up to the court for trial of the accused. In the U.S., the indictment is one of three principal methods of charging offenses, the others being the information (a written accusation resembling an indictment, prepared and presented to the court by a prosecuting official) and, for petty offenses, a complaint by the aggrieved party or by a police officer. An indictment may contain several counts.
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