Explainer: What legal problems does U.S. presidential candidate Trump face?

Date:

Nov 15 (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump, who announced on Tuesday that he will run for the White House again in 2024, is facing a series of investigations and lawsuits.

MISSING GOVERNMENT DATA

The US Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into Trump for holding government records, including some marked as classified, after he left office in January 2021.

The FBI seized 11,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida during a court-approved search on Aug. 8. About 100 documents were marked as classified, with some classified as top secret, the highest level of classification.

Trump, a Republican, has accused the Justice Department of participating in a partisan witch hunt.

A special master, senior U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie, is reviewing the seized documents to determine whether they are protected by executive privilege, as Trump has claimed.

Executive privilege is a legal doctrine that allows a president to keep certain documents or information secret.

The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to end that review and restore access to unclassified material found in the search, arguing that both measures impede criminal investigations.

NEW YORK ADVOCATE GENERAL CIVIL TRIAL

New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a civil suit filed in September that her office discovered more than 200 examples of misleading asset valuations by Trump and the Trump Organization between 2011 and 2021.

James, a Democrat, accused Trump of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to get lower interest rates on loans and better insurance coverage.

A New York judge has ordered an independent observer be appointed to oversee the Trump organization before the case goes to trial.

James is seeking to permanently ban Trump and his children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Trump from running businesses in New York State, and to prevent them and his company from buying new properties and taking out new loans in the state for five years.

James also wants the defendants to hand over approximately $250 million that she claims was obtained through fraud.

Trump called the attorney general’s trial a witch hunt. A Trump attorney has called James’ claims baseless.

James said her investigation also uncovered evidence of criminal misconduct, which she referred to federal prosecutors and the IRS for investigation.

NEW YORK CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

The Trump Organization faces charges of tax fraud in New York in a criminal case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The company, which operates hotels, golf courses and other real estate properties around the world, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of tax fraud and six other charges. It could be fined $1.6 million.

Trump is not accused of wrongdoing.

Allen Weisselberg, the company’s former chief financial officer, has pleaded guilty and must testify against the Trump Organization as part of his plea deal. He is also a defendant in James’ civil suit.

BEARING BUSINESS

E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine writer, sued Trump in 2019 for defamation after he denied her claim that he raped her in a New York City department store in the 1990s. Trump accused her of lying to boost book sales.

Trump appeared for a deposition in the case on Oct. 19, according to his and Carroll’s lawyers.

Trump has argued that he is protected from Carroll’s lawsuit by a federal law that indemnifies government employees from defamation claims.

The Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in September that Trump was a federal employee when he called Carroll a liar, but left open the question of whether he was acting as president when he made the statement.

An appeals court in Washington, D.C., will address that question during oral arguments scheduled for January 10, 2023.

Carroll also plans to sue Trump for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress under New York state law, even if the libel suit is dismissed.

AMERICAN CAPITOL ATTACK

A House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack by Trump supporters on the Capitol is investigating whether he broke the law by taking steps to reverse his 2020 election defeat. Rioters tried to stop Congress from certifying the election results.

In October, Trump was subpoenaed by the commission to testify under oath and provide documents.

The commission’s vice chair Liz Cheney, a Republican, has said the commission could refer to the Justice Department to file criminal charges against Trump.

Only the Justice Department can decide whether to indict Trump for federal crimes. The panel is expected to issue written findings in the coming weeks.

Trump has called the panel’s investigation a politically motivated sham.

GEORGIA ELECTION BUTTON PROBE

In May, a special grand jury was assembled for a Georgia prosecutor’s investigation into Trump’s alleged efforts to influence that state’s 2020 election results.

The investigation focuses in part on a phone call Trump made on January 2, 2021, to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican. Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” enough votes needed to reverse Trump’s election loss in Georgia.

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

Trump could argue that his discussions were constitutionally protected free speech.

In a separate lawsuit, a federal judge in California said on Oct. 19 that Trump knowingly made false claims for voter fraud in a Georgia election case, citing emails the judge reviewed.

Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York and Jacqueline Thomsen in Washington; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Edited by Ross Colvin, Noeleen Walder, Will Dunham and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

Luke Cohen

Thomson Reuters

New York Federal Court Reports. Previously worked as a correspondent in Venezuela and Argentina.

Jacqueline Thomas

Thomson Reuters

Jacqueline Thomsen, based in Washington, DC, covers legal news related to policy, the courts and the legal profession. Follow her on Twitter at @jacq_thomsen and email her at [email protected]

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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