For Trump, Georgia election case just one of many legal woes
An investigation in Georgia on efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election defeat is one of a number of cases that pose legal problems for the former president.
A judge in Atlanta is weighing arguments on whether to release a special grand jury’s report expected to include recommendations for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on possible criminal prosecution.
Trump faces myriad inquiries as he campaigns for another term in 2024, including a criminal investigation over top secret documents found at his Florida estate, a probe in Washington into his efforts to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election, and more probes in New York.
Trump, a Republican, has denied any wrongdoing and says he is being targeted by Democrats trying to keep him from reclaiming the White House.
Here’s a look at the probes underway in different states and venues:
The Justice Department is investigating the retention of top secret government documents at Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, and potential efforts to obstruct that probe.
As part of that inquiry, agents and prosecutors have spent months interviewing multiple people close to Trump, including an aide who was seen on surveillance video moving boxes of documents at the property.
A grand jury in Washington has been hearing evidence in the investigation. Prosecutors last year granted limited immunity to one close Trump ally to secure his testimony.
Attorney General Merrick Garland in November named Jack Smith, a veteran war crimes prosecutor who previously led the Justice Department’s public integrity section, to serve as special counsel over the Mar-a-Lago investigation and key aspects of a separate probe into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
2020 ELECTION AND CAPITOL RIOT
The Justice Department is investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and efforts to overturn the election Trump falsely claimed was stolen.
Federal prosecutors have been especially focused on a scheme by Trump allies to elevate fake presidential electors in key battleground states won by President Joe Biden as a way to subvert the vote, issuing subpoenas to multiple state Republican party chairmen.
Federal prosecutors have brought multiple Trump administration officials before the grand jury for questioning, including the former Trump White House counsel and a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence.
In a sign of the expanding nature of the investigation, election officials in multiple states whose results were disputed by Trump have received subpoenas asking for communications with or involving Trump and his campaign aides.
A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack recommended that the Justice Department bring criminal charges against Trump and associates who helped him launch a wide-ranging pressure campaign to try to overturn his 2020 election loss.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
After his 2020 election loss, Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and urged him to “find 11,780 votes” — just enough to overtake Democrat Joe Biden and overturn Trump’s narrow loss in the state.
That Jan. 2 phone call was part of a monthslong investigation by a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating whether crimes were committed as part of the pressure campaign to overturn Trump’s defeat.
Among those who were questioned by the special grand jury are Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Trump lawyer; Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Prosecutors have advised Giuliani and Georgia Republicans who served as fake electors that they are at risk of being indicted. The fake electors signed a certificate asserting Trump had won the election and declaring themselves the state’s electors, even though Biden had won the state and a slate of Democratic electors had already been certified.
Trump and his allies have denied any wrongdoing, and he has repeatedly described his phone call to Raffensperger as “perfect.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued Trump and the Trump Organization, saying it misled banks and tax authorities about the value of assets like golf courses and skyscrapers to get loans and tax benefits.
That lawsuit, which is pending, could lead to civil penalties against the company if the Democratic attorney general prevails. She wants $250 million and a ban on Trump doing business in New York.
In the meantime, a judge has appointed an independent monitor to watch the company.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office says it is continuing to pursue a parallel criminal investigation into Trump’s business dealings.
District Attorney Alvin Bragg recently named a new senior prosecutor to oversee that probe, which had appeared to be heading toward a possible Trump indictment when the Democrat slowed things down after taking office a year ago.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen said he met Jan. 17 with Manhattan prosecutors who have revived a years-old investigation into payments made to a porn star to keep her quiet about an alleged extramarital tryst with Trump.
In another case, the Trump Organization was convicted of tax fraud in December for helping executives dodge taxes on extravagant perks such as Manhattan apartments and luxury cars. Trump himself was not on trial. The company was fined $1.6 million.