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Roundup of all the legal challenges Donald Trump is facing

Trump is facing numerous criminal and civil cases in courtrooms across the country.
Roundup of all the legal challenges Donald Trump is facing
Posted at 2:01 PM, Aug 22, 2023

Former President Donald Trump now faces 91 criminal charges stemming from four different cases, in both state and federal court. 

If Trump were convicted and received the maximum sentence in every case, which is unlikely, he’d face hundreds of years in prison. 

He is the first and only president in American history to be criminally indicted. His most recent indictment came in Georgia following an investigation into his effort to overturn the 2020 election via the use of "fake electors," as well as asking Georgia’s secretary of state to "find" more votes. 

Trump also faces a litany of civil lawsuits.  

In all cases, he has denied any wrongdoing.  

What are the criminal cases?

STORMY DANIELS CASE 

Trump’s first indictment came in April. A New York grand jury found evidence to indict on 34 counts for allegedly falsifying business records to conceal potentially damaging information ahead of the 2016 presidential election. 

The case stems from a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels. 

Prosecutors allege Trump used a shell company to make the payment in an effort to hide an affair with Daniels. 

There are also two others named in this case: a former Trump Tower doorman who was paid $30,000 to keep quiet on information that he claimed to have about Trump having a child out of wedlock; and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, whom prosecutors say received $150,000 after claiming to have had an affair with Trump over a 10-month period. 

FALSIFIED DOCUMENTS 

In June, Trump was indicted on 37 federal counts accusing the former president of retaining classified information and obstructing justice when officials attempted to retrieve the materials from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. The indictment alleges some of the documents contained national defense information, including nuclear programs.  

Trump resisted the federal government's efforts to retrieve the documents for more than a year, according to government documents. They were not retrieved until August 2022 when a search warrant was issued.  

In July of this year, three more counts were added to the indictment for retention of documents and obstruction. 

JAN. 6, 2021, AND THE 2020 ELECTION 

Trump was indicted on Aug. 1 on charges connected to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

The four counts, which include conspiracy and obstruction of an official government proceeding, were brought by special counsel Jack Smith. Smith alleges Trump and six unnamed co-conspirators orchestrated a scheme to stop the peaceful transfer of power after Trump lost the presidential election.  

2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN GEORGIA  

Trump doesn’t just face federal charges related to election meddling in the 2020 election. In Georgia, state prosecutors indicted the former president and 18 others on Aug. 14. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis began the investigation two years ago stemming from Trump’s Jan. 2, 2021, phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It was during that call that Trump suggested state officials "find" the votes needed to give him a win.  

"All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have," Trump told Raffensperger during the recorded call. "Because we won the state.” 

In the 98-page indictment, Willis outlined what she described as a conspiracy to change the outcome of the election.  One of the 13 charges facing Trump includes racketeering, which has a minimum of five years in prison. Since the case is being brought in state court, a presidential pardon is off the table if there's a conviction. The pardon power in this case lies with the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, a five-member panel authorized by the state constitution. The board could issue a pardon five years after the sentence is completed. 

What are the civil cases?

While the criminal cases against Trump have been front and center, he also faces a slew of civil cases. 

In those cases, jail time is not on the table, but he could face fines or other financial penalties. 

The burden of proof is much lighter in a civil case. 

E. JEAN CARROLL 

Earlier this year, E. Jean Carroll won a civil suit against Trump, with a jury finding him liable for sexual battery. The claim stems from a mid-1990s encounter at a New York City department store, where Carroll claims Trump raped her. She contended that Trump defamed her by lying about the sexual assault.

Carroll, 79, a longtime advice columnist, has two cases against Trump. In the May 9 verdict, the jury awarded her $5 million finding Trump is liable for battery and defamation. The jury found that Carroll proved trump had sexually abused her but did not prove he raped her. 

Trump has appealed. 

In a second lawsuit, she is asking for $10 million for battery and defamation.  

TRUMP ORGANIZATION ALLEGED TAX FRAUD 

In January, the Trump Organization was fined $1.6 million for tax fraud following a December 2022 conviction for 17 tax crimes, including conspiracy and falsifying business records. The fine was the maximum allowed by law following the case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. 

Trump was not named in the case. 

The former president is, however, named in a separate case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. She is suing Trump and the Trump Organization, alleging fraud.  

In the $250 million lawsuit, James alleges Donald Trump and his family enriched themselves through "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations." 

James originally included not just Trump and the Trump Organization and executives, but his three eldest children, as well. Ivanka Trump has since been dismissed from the case as she was no longer part of the organization during the time James is alleging fraud.  

James has also asked the court to ban Trump from running any New York-based company.  

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE 

In January 2024, a case alleging a pyramid scheme run by Trump heads to court. 

In the class-action lawsuit, brought in 2018, four anonymous investors claimed they lost hundreds or thousands of dollars investing with American Communications Network, a multi-level marketing firm.  

In the complaint, they claim they were duped by the family’s promotion of the telecommunications pyramid scheme on “The Apprentice” and at business conventions. 

The lawsuit originally named the three eldest Trump children, who gave depositions in the case. They have since been dismissed from the lawsuit.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the former president pocketed millions from ACN endorsements.  

JAN. 6-RELATED CASES 

Following the insurrection at the Capitol, the former president has faced a series of lawsuits brought by individuals impacted from the day's events. 

Multiple lawmakers have sued, as have Capitol Police officers. 

One of the more well-known civil cases involves the family of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after responding to riots. His former partner Sandra Garza also filed a lawsuit. 

Trump’s legal team has asked for a delay in this case, arguing it “overlaps substantially” with the federal indictment brought by the special counsel.


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