4th indictment adds to Donald Trump's growing legal crises

Former President Donald Trump waves from his limo as his motorcade leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington after his arraignment on election interference charges on August 3. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI
Former President Donald Trump waves from his limo as his motorcade leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington after his arraignment on election interference charges on August 3. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

Twice impeached former President Donald Trump is facing a slew of legal cases, growing ever more serious as he seeks the GOP nomination for re-election in 2024.

In the latest development, a grand jury in Fulton County, Ga., indicted Trump and 18 co-defendants Monday in a racketeering case alleging illegal interference in the 2020 election.


Here's a look at Trump's indictments, the other legal challenges he faces and where each of them stand.

Trump faces charges connected to hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI


Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg's probe into 2016 hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels

Trump became the first former president to face criminal charges in March when he was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in the first degree for alleged hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election.


Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford, has long claimed she had an affair with Trump before he became president. Trump's former attorney-turned-critic Michael Cohen was convicted in 2020 of coordinating a $130,000 payment to Daniels. Trump has denied the affair.

The investigation was started by former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who passed the investigation that led to the indictment of his successor, Alvin Bragg.

"The people of the state of New York allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election," Bragg said in a statement at the time of the indictment.

"Manhattan is home to the country's most significant business market. We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct."

Trump pleaded not guilty in early April before boarding a jet to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., where he claimed that the justice system had been weaponized against him.

The case began moving along in June as lawyers for Trump go back and forth with prosecutors about evidence, redactions and other court matters. An evidentiary hearing was held on June 27 before U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, though the transcript of what occurred remains sealed, court records reviewed by UPI show.


A letter filed with the court June 29 shows that evidence entered into the record include a check Trump issued to Michael Cohen for $35,000 and a 28-page transcript of a news conference that Trump held in New York on Jan. 11, 2017, as published by The New York Times.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan set a trial date of March 25. Trump faces up to four years in prison for each count and a judge could impose consecutive sentences, meaning he could face 136 years in prison if found guilty on every count.

Related to this case, the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, were indicted on tax fraud charges in July 2021. Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 charges and agreed to testify against the company in August 2022. The company was found guilty on all counts in December.

This photo that was included in a court filing submitted by the Department of Justice on August 30, 2022, shows a collection of documents seized by the FBI during execution of a search warrant on the Mar-a-Lago resort home of former President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of Department of Justice/UPI


Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe into classified documents

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland signed an order in November appointing Jack Smith as a special counsel to probe Trump's attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Garland also authorized Smith to investigate crimes related to the FBI seizure of thousands of documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in August while investigating the potential mishandling of classified documents taken with him to Florida after his presidency ended.

Trump's attorneys argued at the time that the documents were part of his personal records exempt from record-keeping laws and part of an ongoing negotiation with the National Archives.

Smith announced in June that an indictment returned by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida had been unsealed, charging Trump with "felony violations of our national security laws, as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice."

The indictment reads that the boxes of documents contained information about defense and weapons capabilities of the United States and foreign countries, U.S. nuclear programs and other military-related intelligence. Trump is also accused of showing a classified map related to a military operation to someone who did not have a security clearance and directing his butler, Walter Nauta, to hide the evidence from the FBI.


Smith filed a superseding indictment from the grand jury on July 27, hitting Trump and Nauta with additional charges while adding Carlos De Oliveira as a defendant.

De Oliveira is a maintenance worker accused of helping Nauta move 30 boxes of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago into a storage room on June 2, 2022, under Trump's direction.

Court records show prosecutors have handed over their first and second productions of unclassified evidence through the discovery process, including witness interviews conducted on May 12 and June 23 who may testify at trial.

Trump's legal team will need clearance to view evidence with classified markings.

Prosecutors have demanded reciprocal discovery from Trump's team of evidence he has listed in court records. The case is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who has ruled in his favor in the past.

The trial has been set for May 2024.

Trump supporters breach the U.S. Capitol to protest the Electoral College vote count to certify President-elect Joe Biden as the winner on January 6, 2021. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI


Smith's investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol


Trump was arraigned on Aug. 3, 2023, and pleaded not guilty to four charges alleging he perpetrated a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, culminating in a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol.

The four charges are conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy against the right to vote.

Trump was released on the promise to return to court, without bail being set, but has been ordered not to communicate with any witnesses in the case except through or in the presence of his lawyers.

Unlike in his previous cases, Trump stood and gave his plea himself rather than through his lawyer and did not deliver a fiery speech in the aftermath.

Writing in the indictment, the grand jury said Trump "had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election" and even to falsely claim voter fraud affected the election.

However, the grand jury alleged that Trump "also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results."

Trump has blamed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling the investigation a politically motivated "witch hunt."

Much of the indictment reaffirmed findings from the bipartisan U.S. House select committee's investigation. The lawmakers had voted unanimously to refer Trump to the Justice Department for criminal charges.


The committee also released an 845-page report that clearly names him as being the central figure that spurred the mob of his supporters to siege the Capitol in an attempt to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.

"In the committee's hearings, we presented evidence of what ultimately became a multi-part plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election," the congressional report reads.

"That evidence has led to an overriding and straightforward conclusion: The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed. None of the events of Jan. 6 would have happened without him."

A audio recording of former President Donald Trump talking to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is played as the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a public hearing to discuss its findings of a year-long investigation, on Capitol Hill in Washington on October 13, 2022. File Pool Photo by Alex Wong/UPI


Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis' investigation after infamous call to 'find' votes

Trump and 18 others were indicted on Aug. 14, charged with attempting to overturn the outcome of the state's presidential election in 2020.


The former president faces a total 13 of the indictment's 41 counts, including violation of Georgia's racketeering law, conspiracy to commit forgery, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.

The filing notes that there are another 30 unindicted co-conspirators.

"The indictment alleges that rather than abide by Georgia's legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia's presidential election result," Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said.

The defendants have until noon Aug. 25 to surrender to authorities. They include several attorneys who worked with Trump, as well as Georgia Republican leaders. Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorney John Eastman are among them.

At the center of the investigation is Trump's infamous 2021 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger instructing him to "find" votes.

"All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state," Trump said in the recorded phone call.

Trump has repeatedly called for a federal judge to dismiss Willis from the case, who has responded that Trump's argument calling her politically biased lacks merit and is procedurally flawed.


Trump has denied wrongdoing in the case.

New York Attorney General Letitia James began investigating the Trump Organization in March 2019. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI


A look into the dealings of a real estate tycoon

New York Attorney General Letitia James began investigating the Trump Organization in March 2019. As part of the investigation, Trump's son Eric Trump -- the company's executive vice president -- was ordered to sit for a deposition and invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 500 times.

Subpoenas were later issued for the former president, his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son Donald Trump Jr. Donald Trump unsuccessfully sought to have the case dismissed multiple times, including a lawsuit against James that was dismissed.

He was later found in civil contempt and ordered to pay a daily fine of $10,000 for failing to comply with subpoenas seeking documents related to the case.

Former President Donald Trump is seen leaving Trump Tower in New York City in April. File Photo by John Nacion/UPI

James' investigation is a civil matter examining whether Donald Trump's business inflated the value of its assets over the years for financial gain and ran alongside the probe led by Vance.


In September, James filed the lawsuit stemming from the investigation against Trump, three of his children and the Trump Organization, alleging an illegal scheme that amassed $250 million by fraudulently overvaluing assets.

James called the number of assets Trump allegedly grossly inflated "staggering." At the time, James said she was referring the case to the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service for possible criminal violations.

It was not immediately clear if federal prosecutors or the IRS have started probing possible criminal violations related to the allegations made in the civil lawsuit.

Ivanka Trump has since been dismissed from the lawsuit.

James seeks to bar Donald Trump from doing business in the state and $250 million in fines.


Defamation lawsuits centered on sexual abuse allegations

Writer E. Jean Carroll filed the first of her two civil lawsuits against Donald Trump in November 2019, accusing the then-sitting president of defamation when he denied Carroll's claims that he raped her at New York's Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s.

Carroll had written a memoir of which a segment was published in New York Magazine in June 2019 detailing the alleged assault. Trump responded by not only repeatedly denying that the assault occurred but that he had never met Carroll. Trump said the writer had fabricated the story to sell copies of her forthcoming book while claiming it was a political smear possibly made in collaboration with his Democratic opposition.


"She is trying to sell a new book -- that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section," Trump said in a June 21 statement.

The first lawsuit has crawled its way through the federal court system and a Jan. 15 start date has been set for the trial.

The second lawsuit was filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York in November 2022 under New York's then recently-enacted Adult Survivors Act that allowed victims of sexual assault to file civil suits beyond the statute of limitations.

Court documents reviewed by UPI show Trump is accused of knowing "at a bare minimum" that his statements denying the sexual assault were false and that they have caused Carroll emotional pain and suffering, as well as reputational and professional damage.

A Manhattan jury in May unanimously determined that Trump had battered and defamed the columnist, and ordered the now-former president to pay $2 million in compensation and $20,000 in punitive damages for battery. For the defamation allegation, Trump was ordered to pay $1.7 million for reputational repair, $1 million in compensatory damages and $280,000 in punitive damages.

The jury was unable to reach a unanimous agreement on whether Trump had raped Carroll.


The saga over the lawsuits continues after the ruling as both made comments that prompted each to accuse the other of defamation.

After the Manhattan jury issued its ruling, Trump went on CNN and repeated his denials, calling Carroll's allegations "fake" and the like.

In response, Carroll amended her initial 2019 defamation complaint against the New York City real estate mogul asking for no less than $10 million in damages.

Trump responded with a countersuit filed against Carroll, which a judge dismissed on Aug. 7.

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