Monday, August 2

Trump’s list of legal problems after the trial


(CNN) — After avoiding a conviction in his second impeachment, Former President Donald Trump faces major new legal threats as Georgia prosecutors have joined with New York prosecutors to conduct criminal investigations into his actions.

As the nation watched harrowing videos from Jan.6 from Trump supporters breaking into the United States Capitol During the impeachment trial in the Senate this week, Georgia officials announced that they have opened investigations into Trump’s efforts to annul election results state, even pressuring officials to “find” votes to turn the outcome in their favor.

The new investigations add to an overwhelming list of legal problems facing the former president that could threaten his finances and possibly his freedom.

Outside of office and without the protections granted to him by the presidency, Trump now faces multiple criminal investigations, civil state investigations and defamation lawsuits from two women accusing him of sexual assault.

The pressure comes as Trump weighs his future in politics and business with the Trump Organization, which has already been affected by the covid-19 pandemic, and has also lost corporate partnerships in the aftermath. Trump speech on January 6 That stirred up a crowd.

In the three weeks since Trump left the White House, the multiple legal challenges he faces have increased and become more imminent.

Georgia Election Results

Brad Raffensperger.

Georgia officials announced that the former president faces two new investigations into calls he made to election officials in an attempt to overturn the state’s election results.

A source familiar with the Georgia secretary of state’s investigation confirmed that they are investigating two calls, including one Trump made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

On the January call, whose audio was obtained by CNN, Trump is heard pressuring Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the election results after his loss to then-President-elect Joe Biden.

“This is not an easy case, but it is not one you should stop investigating,” said Bret Williams, a former federal prosecutor in New York and Atlanta. “It will be difficult to show that he intended to petition Raffensperger to commit electoral fraud, but he may have done so.”

Trump’s senior adviser Jason Miller said in a statement to CNN that there was nothing “inappropriate or unpleasant” about the scheduled call between Trump and Raffensperger.

“If Mr. Raffensperger did not want to receive calls about the elections, he should not have run for secretary of state,” Miller said in the statement.

The investigation also involves a call Trump made in December to a Georgia election investigator at the Secretary of State’s office that led an investigation into allegations of voter fraud in Cobb County. Trump is heard asking the investigator to “find the fraud,” saying the official would be a “national hero.”

Georgia’s second investigation is being conducted by the Fulton County district attorney’s office, which announced Wednesday that it also opened a criminal investigation against Trump for his “attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia general election.” .

“Anyone who violates the law will be prosecuted, regardless of their social status, regardless of their finances, regardless of their race or gender. We are not going to treat anyone differently, ”Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told WSB, a CNN affiliate, in an interview earlier this week.

The earliest a Fulton County investigatory jury is expected to meet is in March, and the district attorney’s office may request subpoenas from the investigative jury as needed at that time.

“I think the laws were violated because I think it was a clear effort on the part of a president of the United States at the time, who I think at that time also wielded a certain amount of power to influence the secretary of state to do something. wrong, ”added Michael J. Moore, a former federal attorney for the Middle District of Georgia during the Obama administration.

“I think that’s what the statute says, and if those things happened, that’s a violation of the law,” he said.

Business deals in New York

Trump is also facing a criminal investigation in New York, where the Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating whether the Trump Organization violated state laws with insurance fraud, tax fraud, or other schemes to defraud. The scope of the investigation is wide, and prosecutors are investigating, among other things, whether the Trump Organization misled financial institutions by borrowing or violated tax laws by donating a conservation easement on their property called Seven Springs and deducting fees. paid to consultants.

Prosecutors await a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on whether to continue to delay the execution of an eight-year subpoena of Trump’s personal and business tax returns and related records from his accounting firm.

If the Supreme Court allows the subpoena to be executed, it will give a significant boost to the investigation.

The New York State Attorney General’s Office Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization inflated the values ​​of its assets to guarantee favorable loans and insurance coverage.

Alan Garten, general counsel of the Trump Organization, previously told the New York Times: “Everything was done in strict compliance with the applicable law and under the advice of lawyers and tax experts.” He added: “All applicable taxes were paid and neither party received any undue benefit.”

The attorney general’s office removed Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, in October. James’ investigation is civil at the moment, but could turn criminal.

US President Donald Trump speaks with supporters of The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021 in Washington.

The insurrection in Washington

In Washington, federal prosecutors investigating the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol have pointed out that no one is above the law, including Trump, and have emphasized that nothing is off the table when asked if they were analyzing the role of the former president in inciting violence.

In the flood of court proceedings after more than 200 people They were charged with federal crimes, Trump’s influence on the agitators has been mentioned by both the prosecution and the defendants seeking to take responsibility.

In a case presented on Thursday Against a member of the Oath Keepers, prosecutors alleged that the woman was awaiting instructions from Trump, and it is the first time they have made such a direct accusation.

El fiscal general de Washington, Karl Racine, also warned that Trump could face criminal charges in the days after the insurrection and said Washington law prohibits statements that “clearly encourage, cajole and … motivate people to commit violent acts,” he told MSNBC in January.

Racine assured in the interview that his office, which enforces local city codes, is collaborating with federal prosecutors on the case.

Without the protection of the presidency

Since he is not in office, Trump cannot rely on various defenses he made while he was president.

Things are going to accelerate. He no longer has the excuse of being the acting president, “said Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst. “I think people who expect us to see serious action in civil lawsuits sooner will be disappointed because civil litigation moves very slowly anyway.”

But, Rodgers added, there is no longer any reason to delay those civil suits now that he is out of the White House.

Those lawsuits include one from Racine’s office, which alleges that the Trump Organization and the Presidential Inauguration Commission abused more than $ 1 million in possession funds by “overpaying” to use the event space. at the Trump Hotel in Washington, for his possession in 2017.

Ivanka Trump was subpoenaed for a deposition in the case in December, and then she tweeted a screenshot of an email that she claims shows her asking the hotel to charge “a fair market rate.” Investigators also asked Donald Trump, Jr. to come in for an interview.

“This ‘investigation’ is another politically motivated demonstration of revenge and waste of taxpayer money,” said Ivanka Trump in her december tweet.

Crédito: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Trump has also faced defamation suits that were greatly delayed while he was in office.

One was submitted by E. Jean Carroll, a former columnist for a magazine who accused him of rape, and another for Summer Zervos, a former “The Apprentice” contestant who claims the former president sexually assaulted her in 2007. Both women say he defamed them for saying his claims were lies.

Carroll seeks to impeach Trump and obtain a sample of his DNA. The case progressed until the Trump Justice Department tried to intervene in the case.

A federal judge denied the effort, and lawyers for Trump and the Justice Department appealed the ruling. It is unclear whether the Biden administration will continue the appeal.

Zervos’ lawsuit, filed in 2017, has been suspended since last year. Trump’s lawyers had argued that the United States Constitution prohibited a sitting president from being sued in state court.

Last week, attorneys for Zervos filed a motion asking the appeals court to dismiss the appeal “as moot” and allow the lawsuit to proceed.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in both lawsuits.

A legal issue that strikes closer is whether Trump will be able to continue living full-time in Mar-a-Lago.

Neighbors in the Palm Beach complex have argued that Trump violated an agreement with the city by moving full-time last month. The city’s zoning laws allow you to live there full time if you are considered a “bona fide employee” of the club.

“There is no prohibition on the owner using the owner’s suite,” said attorney John Marion. “This guy (Trump), as he roams the property, he’s like the mayor of Mar-a-Lago, so to speak.”

After a meeting on Tuesday, the city council made no decision, but is expected to review the matter in the spring.


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