Former President Donald Trump faces a host of investigations around the United States, at both the state and federal levels, into matters related to his business and political careers.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony (serious crime) counts filed by prosecutors in Manhattan related to his role in what they described as a hush-money scheme to cover up a potential sex scandal in order to clear his path to the presidency in 2016. A Georgia prosecutor is in the final stages of an investigation into Trump’s attempts to reverse the election results in that state.
And Jack Smith, the special counsel leading the documents case, is also examining Trump’s efforts to reverse his defeat at the polls in 2020 and his role in the events that led to the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
Here is where notable inquiries involving the former president stand.
Manhattan criminal case
Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg brought the case over Trump’s alleged role in a hush-money payment to an adult film star, Stormy Daniels, who was poised during the campaign to go public with her story of a sexual encounter with him.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer at the time, paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet. Once he was sworn in as president, Trump reimbursed Cohen.
While paying hush money is not inherently criminal, Bragg accused Trump of falsifying records related to the payments and the reimbursement of Cohen, who is expected to serve as the prosecution’s star witness.
In court papers, prosecutors also cited the account of another woman, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model. McDougal had tried to sell her story of an affair with Trump during the campaign and reached a $150,000 agreement with The National Enquirer.
Rather than publish her account, the tabloid suppressed it in co-operation with Trump and Cohen, prosecutors say. (Trump has denied having affairs with either Daniels or McDougal.)
The case is scheduled to go to trial in March.
Georgia criminal inquiry
Prosecutors in Georgia recently indicated that they would announce formal accusations this summer in their investigation of Trump and some of his allies over their efforts to interfere with the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state.
Trump and his associates had numerous interactions with Georgia officials after the election, including a call in which he urged the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find 11,780 votes” – the number he would have needed to overcome Joe Biden’s lead there.
Legal experts say that Trump and others appear to be at “substantial risk” of prosecution for violating a number of Georgia statutes, including the state’s racketeering law.
A special grand jury was impaneled in May 2022 in Fulton County, and it heard testimony from 75 witnesses behind closed doors over a series of months. Comprising members of the public who are typically registered voters, a grand jury hears evidence presented by a prosecutor and determines whether there is enough evidence to prosecute a person and whether there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The jurors produced a final report, but the most important elements of it – including recommendations on who should be indicted (formally accused) and on what charges – remain under seal.
But the foreperson, Emily Kohrs, has said that indictments were recommended against more than a dozen people, and she strongly hinted in an interview with the New York Times in February that Trump was included among those names. “You’re not going to be shocked,” she said. “It’s not rocket science.”
Fani T Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, will ultimately decide what charges to seek and then bring them before a regular grand jury. She recently indicated that she would do so during the first three weeks of August.
January 6th inquiries
A House committee investigating the January 6th assault on the Capitol spent 1½ years examining the role that Trump and his allies played in his efforts to hold on to power after his electoral defeat in November 2020.
In December, the committee issued an 845-page report detailing the events that led to the attack on the Capitol that concluded that Trump and some of his associates had devised “a multipart plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election”.
The panel also accused Trump of inciting insurrection and conspiracy to defraud the United States, among other federal crimes, and referred him and some of his allies to the Justice Department for possible prosecution.
The referrals were largely symbolic, but they sent a powerful signal that a bipartisan committee of Congress believed the former president had committed crimes.
Smith’s office has been conducting its own investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn the election, building on months of work by other federal prosecutors in Washington who have also filed charges against nearly 1,000 people who took part in the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
The special counsel’s office has focused its attention on a wide array of schemes that Trump and his allies used to try to stave off defeat, among them a plan to create false slates of pro-Trump electors in key swing states that were won by Biden. Prosecutors under Smith have also sought information about Trump’s main fundraising operation after the election.
The special counsel’s office has recently won important legal battles in its inquiry as judges in Washington have issued rulings forcing top Trump administration officials such as former vice-president Mike Pence and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify in front of a grand jury.
It is unclear what charges, if any, might come from the federal investigation. But prosecutors continue to pursue a variety of angles. They recently subpoenaed staff members from the Trump White House who might have been involved in firing the cybersecurity official whose agency judged the 2020 election “the most secure in American history”, according to two people briefed on the matter.
New York state civil inquiry
In a September lawsuit, the New York attorney general, Letitia James, accused Trump of lying to lenders and insurers by fraudulently overvaluing his assets by billions of dollars.
James is seeking to bar the Trumps, including Trump’s older sons, Donald Jr and Eric, and his older daughter, Ivanka, from running a business in New York.
She has already successfully requested that a judge appoint an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organisation’s use of its annual financial statements.
Because James’s investigation is civil, she cannot file criminal charges. She could opt to pursue settlement negotiations in hopes of obtaining a swifter financial payout. But if she were to prevail at trial, a judge could impose steep financial penalties on Trump and restrict his business operations in New York.
James’s investigators questioned Trump under oath in April, and a trial is scheduled for October.
– This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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