Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Factbox: Donald Trump's tangled web of legal and financial worries

  • Trump denies any wrongdoing
  • Trump was charged with 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records 
Update : 17 Mar 2024, 10:20 AM

Donald Trump has won a series of delays as he seeks to avoid going to trial on any of four criminal indictments before the November 5 US election, when the Republican former president aims to unseat Democratic President Joe Biden. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

Special counsel's election subversion charges

The US Supreme Court will on April 25 hear Trump's claim of presidential immunity from prosecution on charges he conspired to prevent Congress from certifying his 2020 election loss to Biden and deprive voters of a fair election.

The justices put on hold the criminal case being pursued by Special Counsel Jack Smith in Washington and will review a lower court's rejection of Trump's immunity claim.

A decision is expected by the end of June, further delaying a trial that had been scheduled to begin on March 4.

Trump pleaded not guilty on August 3, 2023, to a four-count indictment. His lawyers contend that former presidents can not face criminal charges for conduct related to their official responsibilities.

The DC Circuit concluded that any executive immunity that may have shielded Trump from criminal charges while he served as president "no longer protects him against this prosecution." Smith had urged the top court to reject any delay.

On January 6, 2021, Trump's supporters attacked the Capitol after the then-president gave a speech telling them to march there and "fight like hell" to prevent the election from being "stolen." Prosecutors said Trump exploited the attack, spurning advice that he direct rioters to leave.

Trump and others organized fraudulent slates of electors in seven states, all of which he lost, to be certified as official by Congress on January 6 in a bid to thwart certification of Biden's victory, the indictment said.

The indictment presented examples of Trump's false claims of widespread voting fraud and noted that close advisers, including senior intelligence officials, told him the results showing he lost were legitimate.

Special counsel's classified documents charges

Trump pleaded not guilty on June 13, 2023, and again on August 4, 2023, to federal charges brought by Smith in south Florida that he unlawfully kept classified national security documents after leaving office in January 2021 and misled officials who sought to recover them.

Trump faces 40 criminal counts in the case. The timing of the trial is uncertain. Smith has sought a July start. Trump suggested August, even as he argued that a trial should not happen before the November election.

Smith accused Trump of risking national secrets by taking thousands of sensitive papers with him when he left the White House and storing them haphazardly at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and golf club in New Jersey.

The documents included information about the US nuclear program and potential vulnerabilities in the event of an attack, according to the indictment.

Trump was charged with violations of the Espionage Act, which criminalizes unauthorized possession of national defense information, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Georgia election-subversion charges

Trump on August 31, 2023, pleaded not guilty to state criminal charges in Georgia arising from his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss. A grand jury indicted him after an investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, an elected Democrat. Judge Scott McAfee has yet to set a trial date.

Trump and his 18 co-defendants were charged under Georgia's broadly written Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act that originally targeted the mafia. He was charged with 13 felony counts, but the judge later dismissed three counts.

Lawyers for Trump failed to have Willis disqualified. They had accused her of having an inappropriate relationship with Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she appointed to lead the case. On Friday, the judge said Willis could stay on the case if Wade was removed. He resigned the position later in the day.

Other co-defendants include Mark Meadows, Trump's former White House chief of staff, and lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman. They have pleaded not guilty.

Trial over “hush money” to porn star

Trump was charged with 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records after a grand jury in Manhattan indicted him for covering up hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. Trump pleaded not guilty on April 4, 2023.

The trial had been scheduled to begin on March 25, but Trump's lawyers say the late disclosure of evidence has impeded their preparation. Justice Juan Merchan on Friday agreed to delay the start of the trial, setting a March 25 hearing to discuss the timing.

Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, paid Daniels $130,000 for her silence about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump in 2006. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat, accuses Trump of trying to conceal a violation of election laws.

Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, but has acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the $130,000 payment. Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes in 2018 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Trump also has appeals pending in some costly civil cases.

New york attorney general civil lawsuit

New York State Justice Arthur Engoron on February 16 ordered Trump to pay $354.9 million in penalties after ruling in September that he repeatedly committed fraud, overstating his net worth by as much as much as $3.6 billion a year.

With daily interest that began to accrue in 2019, the payout had grown to $454.2 million with interest by February 22, and additional interest is tacked on each day.

Trump has yet to post a full bond but has offered to instead post $100 million while he appeals. New York State Attorney General Letitia James has said she will immediately seek to seize Trump's assets if he does not post bond by the court's March 25 deadline.

Trump and his family real estate business, the Trump Organization, were accused of lying from 2011 to 2021 about his net worth and the value of his properties to obtain better terms from lenders and insurers. The properties included his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and Trump Tower penthouse in Manhattan.

Sexual abuse and defamation civil lawsuits

A federal jury in Manhattan on January 26 ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million to writer E Jean Carroll in her defamation lawsuit against him.

Jurors found that Trump harmed Carroll and acted with malice when he defamed her by denying in 2019 that he raped her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.

Trump has denied that the encounter occurred or that he knew Carroll, and accuses her of making up her story to sell her memoir. He is appealing the verdict, and on March 8 posted a $91.6 million bond for the appeal.

On May 9, 2023, another jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million over a similar October 2022 denial, finding that he had defamed and sexually abused Carroll. Trump has appealed that verdict, and set aside $5.55 million with the Manhattan court for that process.

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