Everything you need to know about Trump’s legal troubles

Everything you need to know about Trump’s legal troubles
FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during his first post-presidency campaign rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, U.S., June 26, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

  • The legal issues Trump faces are coming from a few different places, and they aren’t all connected or coordinated. That being said, the troubles he is facing can really be broken down into two parts: allegations of financial misconduct and election-related actions on Trump’s part.
  • In terms of the allegations of financial misconduct, this is being led by the New York City District Attorney (DA) and the New York Attorney General, both of whom are working on cases against him.
  • As far as the election-related actions on his part, there are really three things being looked at.
  • The first is whether or not he was involved in planning the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol in Washington by a violent mob. This portion is being looked at by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as well as the Congressional Committee in charge of investigating the events of January 6.
  • The second thing is a defamation lawsuit brought on by Dominion Voting Systems Corporation, a company that Trump claimed had tampered with election results.
  • And third, a Georgia DA is currently investigating whether or not Trump illegally pressured Georgia’s Secretary of State to overturn election results.
Trump legal troubles
A photo illustration shows the suspended Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump on a smartphone at the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Illustration

Let’s start with the financial misconduct allegations. What exactly is going on there?

  • First off, there have been questions about Trump’s financial conduct since he started his campaign since he was the first major-party nominee since Gerald Ford in 1976 to not voluntarily release his tax returns.
  • But the allegations against him don’t seem to be as related to his tax returns as they do the way he valued his assets as a whole, both to the government and private lenders.
  • “The major issue there,” said Nicholas Creel, assistant professor of business law at Georgia College & State University, “is that Trump’s business seems to have changed the value of real estate assets in ways that either overstated their value when he needed loans on good terms or understated their value when it came time to pay taxes.”
  • “In essence,” he said, “it looks pretty likely that he lied about their value to suit his needs at the time.”
  • And this is enough to warrant investigation by the Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, and the New York Attorney General, Letitia James.
  • After Trump lost the 2020 election, he claimed that he had actually won the election, which got him into some trouble.
  • Trump’s claims are what seemingly inspired the January 6 insurrection on the United States Capitol, which means that the select January 6 investigation committee in Congress is taking a close look at how exactly Trump was involved.
  • But according to Doug Noll, a California based mediator, lawyer and legal expert, “For the Congressional investigation, there is no outcome other than a report of what happened and recommendations for legislation, if any.”
  • Noll also said the committee could make a referral to the Justice Department if they find that appropriate.
  • The second issue he’s dealing with is a lawsuit from Dominion, a company that sells voting machines, for defamation after members of the Trump reelection campaign made false claims that the voting systems had been corrupted and either changed or deleted votes for Trump.
  • The suit doesn’t directly name Trump, instead going after campaign aides and media organizations that helped amplify the hoax.

Which one is the most likely to succeed?

  • Well, “his biggest threat is probably the probe over alleged election interference in Georgia,” said Creel.
  • This case alleges that Trump tried to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger into overturning the results of the 2020 election, something Raffensperger did not do.
  • Raffensperger’s team also have a more than an hour-long phone call recording in which Trump tried to convince Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to change the outcome in the state.
  • According to Creel, “With a recently empaneled grand jury looking at the pressure he put on the Secretary of State … he stands a very real chance of an indictment in the coming months.”

What’s next?

  • Well, the truth is that you just can’t know what will happen with a case until it actually happens.
  • According to Noll, “Civil and criminal cases proceed slowly and deliberately. Thus, we cannot expect any huge announcements or breaking news.”
  • “As the cases progress, there will be revelations,” said Noll. “Until a jury reaches verdict, however, we will not know the extent of Mr. Trump’s culpability, if any.”

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