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The most serious legal threats to Donald Trump’s third presidential bid

As the former president prepares for a third presidential run, legal threats against him continue to mount.

Civil lawsuits filed against him seek hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Intensifying criminal investigations may result in harsh prison time.

Following the criminal conviction of his namesake company, Trump is expected to face separate civil trials accusing him of rape and inflating his net worth by billions of dollars in 2023.

Here’s a look at the key court battles Trump will face as he seeks to reclaim the presidency.

A House select committee is looking into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

The House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol urged Justice Department prosecutors to charge Trump with criminal obstruction and insurrection for a “multi-part conspiracy” to overthrow the 2020 election in its final report on Dec. 23.

The panel said Trump should face charges for obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement, inciting and assisting an insurgency, and various other conspiracy statutes in a series of criminal referrals in the comprehensive 845-page report.

The report recommended that Trump lawyers John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro face criminal charges for their roles in devising an illegal plan to overturn the election results.

It determined that several Republican lawmakers, including GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and representatives Scott Perry, Andy Biggs, and Jim Jordan, should be investigated for ethics violations. That is unlikely to happen now that Republicans have taken control of the House.

The panel’s legal roadmap for charging Trump is not legally binding, but the report’s findings put pressure on the DOJ to take action against the ex-president and those who enabled him.

In November, the Justice Department appointed Special Prosecutor Jack Smith to oversee the investigation into Trump’s role in the Capitol riot.

The Justice Department is investigating the disappearance of classified documents.
More missing documents continue to surface in the Justice Department’s investigations into missing classified papers Trump allegedly took with him when he left the White House for his Florida country club.

According to emails released by the General Services Administration earlier this month, his lawyers discovered classified documents at a Florida storage unit.

The discovery came after an August raid in which FBI agents seized 103 missing documents, including top secret information on Iran’s missiles and highly sensitive China spy secrets, according to the Washington Post.

“My beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in response to the raid this summer. “They even tampered with my safe!”

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith is also in charge of the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents.

Georgia is investigating possible interference in the 2020 presidential election.

Last month, a Georgia grand jury concluded its hearings on how Trump and his associates allegedly attempted to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis called South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former New York Mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as witnesses.

The investigation arose from Trump’s infamous recorded comments to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in January 2021, in which he directed him to “find the votes.”

It’s unclear what Willis intends to do or whether she will charge Trump criminally. Willis said in early 2021 that she would look into whether the ex-president and others committed crimes.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office convicted two Trump Organization entities on criminal tax fraud charges with hefty fines in early December.

The DA’s case coincided with the guilty plea in August of the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who admitted to participating in a 15-year scheme to avoid paying taxes on luxury work benefits.

The company and Weisselberg are set to be sentenced in January, with the CFO facing a five-month sentence on Rikers Island.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into Trump, from which the Trump Organization case arose, is still ongoing. According to The News, Bragg has not ruled out bringing charges against Trump. He has promised to publicly announce his decision when he has made up his mind.

Bragg’s hiring of former Justice Department official Matthew Colangelo, who has testified against Trump in court, in December has fueled speculation that Trump may still face criminal charges in the investigation.

Civil lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General against the Trump Organization
In September, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a shocking civil action lawsuit against Trump, his company, and his adult children, Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr.

The $250 million lawsuit followed a years-long investigation into Trump’s business practises that paralleled the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation.

The massive lawsuit alleges that Trump and his senior executives routinely overstated the value of company assets such as golf resorts and skyscrapers by hundreds of millions of dollars in order to secure better loan terms and tax breaks. It charges Trump with understating his net worth by “billions.”

Trump has countersued the AG, whom he frequently criticises on his social media platform Truth Social, and has filed a slew of appeals in the case. James was successful in his request to expedite the case to trial, and the presiding judge, Justice Arthur Engoron, set an October 2023 trial date.

Jean Carroll is suing for rape and defamation.

With two pending lawsuits in Manhattan federal court, writer and former Elle advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is ready to take Trump to court.

Carroll filed her first defamation lawsuit against Trump in 2019 after he famously called her a liar and said she was “not my type” in response to her allegations that he raped her in the mid-1990s.

Carroll claims that Trump sexually assaulted her inside a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room following a chance encounter in the mid-1990s. According to the author, she kept the dress she was wearing during the alleged assault, and it contains traces of Trump’s DNA.

Trump attempted to avoid Carroll’s defamation suit by claiming that he was president when he made the remarks in 2019 and thus could not be sued. President Biden’s Justice Department has continued to defend him in an unusual move, arguing that federal officials should be immune from legal action.

The D.C. Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments on the matter in early January and will decide whether or not the United States should replace Trump in the original suit. Trump and Carroll have both been deposed as part of the litigation.

Carroll, on the other hand, no longer relies on the D.C. court’s decision. In November, she filed a new lawsuit against him under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which extended the statute of limitations for victims to sue their alleged attackers for one year.

When Carroll announced her intention to sue Trump again under the new legislation, he repeated his inflammatory remarks about her being a liar — this time as a citizen. Carroll’s new lawsuit includes a new defamation claim based on those remarks.

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