Donald Trump’s current legal woes, explained


Former US president Donald Trump said on Monday that FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.

The focus of the investigation was not immediately clear and law enforcement officials as of mid-Tuesday morning had not commented. Here is a look at some of the probes and lawsuits that Trump faces.

Missing documents

The US National Archives and Records Administration in February notified Congress that it had recovered about 15 boxes of White House documents from Trump’s Florida home, some of which contained classified materials.

The Democrat-led oversight committee in the US House said at that time it was expanding an investigation into Trump’s actions and asked the archives to turn over additional information. Trump previously confirmed that he had agreed to return certain records to the archives, calling it “an ordinary and routine process.”

The Capitol riot

A congressional panel probing the Jan. 6, 2021, assault by Trump supporters on the US Capitol is working to build a case that he broke the law in trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

Vice-chair Liz Cheney has said the committee could make multiple referrals to the Justice Department seeking criminal charges against Trump, who accuses the panel of conducting a sham investigation.

WATCH | Trump not the victim of a conspiracy, Republican strategist says:

FBI raid on Trump home likely to galvanize supporters, says political strategist

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on former US president Donald Trump’s private home in Florida is likely to pump up Trump loyalists and prompt him to dive into the next presidential election soon, says Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson.

In a March 2 court filing, the committee detailed Trump’s efforts to persuade his vice-president, Mike Pence, to either reject slates of electors for Democrat Joe Biden, who won the election, or delay a congressional count of those votes.

Trump’s efforts likely violated a federal law making it illegal to “corruptly” obstruct any official proceeding, or attempt to do so, David Carter, a California federal judge, said earlier this year.

In the March 2 filing, the committee said it was likely that Trump and others conspired to defraud the United States. That law criminalizes any effort by two or more people to interfere with governmental functions “by deceit, craft or trickery.”

In addition to Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence, the committee cited his attempts to convince state election officials, the public and members of Congress that the 2020 election was stolen, even though several allies told him there was no evidence of fraud.

Democrats said in a June hearing of the Jan. 6 committee that Trump, a Republican, raised some $250 million US from supporters to advance fraudulent claims in court that he won the election, but steered much of the money elsewhere.

This raises the possibility that he could be charged with wire fraud, which prohibits obtaining money on “false or fraudulent pretensions,” legal experts said.

Supporters of former president Donald Trump rallied in support of him after the FBI operation on Monday. Some legal experts worry about the anger that could be unleashed if Trump were ever to be indicted. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)

The committee cannot charge Trump with federal crimes. That decision must be made by the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Merrick Garland. It is known that a search warrant was obtained in connection with John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who the committee has heard was instrumental in seeking out Trump-friendly electors to replace those of Biden.

Biden was not given advance notice of a raid on Trump’s Florida home, the White House said on Tuesday, stressing that the Justice Department conducts investigations independently.

“The president was not briefed, was not aware of it,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “No one at the White House was given a heads-up,” she added.

While the Justice Department has a decades-old policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, there is no such protection for former presidents or presidential candidates.

Lawrence Douglas, professor of law at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass., told CBC News recently that the committee has brought out “pretty powerful evidence” of “a conspiracy to defraud the United States and … the corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding .”

WATCH | Execution of federal warrant usually results in charges, prosecutor says:

Execution of federal warrant ‘very serious,’ says prosecutor after raid on Trump home

Former US federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says the execution of a federal warrant, like the one carried out at the home of former US president Donald Trump, is extremely serious and usually results in charges.

Legal experts who spoke to Reuters as well as Douglas — who predicted in a book that Trump would not quietly cede an election loss — said the stakes are enormously high.

Prosecuting a candidate could still have political implications and arouse the type of anger seen on display on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump, as he has done after being acquitted in the Senate following two impeachments, could claim vindication if a prosecution is not successful.

Georgia pressure campaign

A special grand jury was selected in May to consider evidence in a Georgia prosecutor’s inquiry into Trump’s alleged efforts to influence the state’s 2020 election results.

The investigation focuses in part on a phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, on Jan. 2, 2021.

Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to overturn Trump’s election loss, according to an audio recording publicly released.

Legal experts said Trump may have violated at least three Georgia criminal election laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, and intentional interference with performance of election duties.

WATCH l Deeliction of duty not a criminal charge, but other charges could stick:

Expert weighs political and legal aspects to Jan. 6 committee hearings

US law professor Lawrence Douglas says that the stakes to bring a criminal case against former president Donald Trump are very high, even if there is strong evidence.

New York probes

Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, has been investigating whether Trump’s family real estate company misrepresented the values ​​of its properties to get favorable bank loans and lower tax bills, though after two top lawyers who had been leading the investigation resigned in February, the probe’s future was thrown into question.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation examining whether the Trump Organization inflated real estate values.

Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, agreed to testify in the probe starting on July 15.

Trump was in New York on Monday and not at his Florida estate, but it’s unclear if his deposition is imminent or had taken place.

Related Posts