Trump's problems with the judiciary: an overview

donald trump

The US President is threatened with legal trouble in several places.

(Photo: Reuters)

new York Yesterday, Wednesday, the New York Attorney General's Office filed a lawsuit against donald trump announced for fraud by his company, the Trump Organization. But the lawsuit is just one of several possible trials Trump attorneys must prepare for.

An overview of the legal construction sites of the ex-president:

New York: Trump Organization rigged finances

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has one this week Civil lawsuit against Trump for fraud announced. She is also suing Trump's company and his children Donald Junior, Eric and Ivanka. James accuses the Trump family and the Trump organization of making the group bigger or smaller depending on need: bigger to get credit, smaller to pay less tax.

Deutsche Bank is also said to have granted loans based on exaggerated valuations, James explained. The Trump Organization is the holding company that unites the family's hotels and real estate.

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"With the help of his children and top executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump artificially inflated his fortune by billions of dollars to unfairly enrich himself and to trick the system - and by extension all of us," James said. She demands that Trump and his children resign from their posts in the Trump Organization and are no longer allowed to hold leadership positions in New York. They are also expected to repay their financial benefits of $250 million.

>> More on the topic: Trump's mouthpiece "Truth Social" faces an uncertain future

Mark Siegel, professor of politics at the Center for Global Affairs at the renowned New York University (NYU), does not believe that Trump has to go to jail for the latest lawsuit. But "the detailed and documented fraud that is being accused here is to be taken very seriously," says Siegel. Documents proved Trump's responsibility. "The demands of 250 million could drive the former president into bankruptcy," says the professor. It will also be almost impossible for him to do business in New York, Siegel points out.

Mar-a-Lago in Florida: Public documents confiscated

FBI agents raided Trump's Florida residence in August and documents confiscated. When Trump left the White House, he took several boxes of documents to his private residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. It can be a criminal offense under the Presidential Records Act. A total of 15 boxes were returned to the National Archives in February.

The archives told Congress that some of the documents were classified in the interest of national security. But obviously not all of them were. FBI agents seized more documents in August that Trump apparently has not returned. And this despite the fact that the lawyers had assured that all the material had been handed over. These included documents classified as "highly sensitive".

Trump's lawyers argue that Trump intended to declassify the documents. So far, however, there is no evidence of this and it is also unclear whether he would have been authorized to do so with many documents.

"I would be surprised if there were no charges here," says Siegel. "These documents are a smoking gun" - irrefutable evidence - he explains.

In theory, the president risks 20 to 40 years in prison for violating the espionage law. But it has never happened before that a former president has been sued, Siegel points out. "This is not only a legal but also a political decision - and not an easy one".

Washington: The aftermath of the storming of the Capitol

Donald Trump is also accused of fomenting a riot on January 6, 2021 when his supporters stormed the Capitol. In a political trial in the Republican-dominated Senate, however, he was acquitted of this charge. But there are still two more procedures:

  • Committee as of January 6th: In July 2021, however, Democratic and some Republican politicians formed a January 6 investigative committee to examine Trump's actions in detail. Several of the hearings were professionally choreographed during prime time US television. In it, former employees of Trump also testified under oath. In the coming weeks - and thus shortly before the election - further hearings are to follow.

    The committee has no authority to prosecute Trump. But he can forward the allegations to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who can then institute a lawsuit. Possible allegations could be obstructing the counting of the votes or conspiring against the United States through the annulment of the election result. Both could be punished with fines or imprisonment.

  • Ministry of Justice: Independent of the committee, the Justice Department is also conducting its own investigation. It's not just about the role of the President, but also that of the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Recently, however, subpoenas have also been sent out to people close to Trump. It is also unclear whether there will be a lawsuit against the ex-president.

Election interference in the US state of Georgia

Investigations into election interference are ongoing in the state of Georgia. There, a few days before the storming of the Capitol, Trump told Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on the phone: "I only want to find 11,780 votes". These votes would have brought Trump victory in the important state and thus in the presidential election.

The phone call is documented. Trump called on Raffensperger to check the results again. But the voices were never found. Raffesperger told Trump: "We believe our numbers are correct." Based on this phone call, prosecutor Fani Willis has launched an investigation into electoral interference in Georgia, which can be punished with fines or imprisonment.

Trump called the investigation a "witch hunt". But political scientist Siegel sees clear evidence in Georgia: "It's just as much a smoking gun as the Mar-a-Lago documents."

Can the procedures prevent Trump from running again in 2024?

Theoretically, prison sentences in particular could prevent Trump from running again. But that would require an indictment and then a conviction.

Even as a businessman, Trump was known for having a whole army of lawyers who repeatedly appeal and use other legal tricks to delay proceedings. "That's his modus operandi," explains political scientist Siegel.

More: New York Attorney General Letitia James is filing a civil lawsuit against Donald Trump, his children and his company. She sees cheating at the "highest level".

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