Explainer-Trump was sued by New York’s attorney general. What legal woes does he face?
(C) Reuters. Former U.S. president Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S., September 17, 2022. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse
By Luc Cohen
(Reuters) – Former U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his adult children and his family company were sued on Wednesday for what New York state’s attorney general called a decade of fraudulent misstatements of the values of real estate properties to secure favorable loans and tax benefits.
Here is a look at some of the numerous investigations and lawsuits that Trump faces as he considers another run for the presidency in 2024.
NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL CIVIL SUIT
New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office uncovered more than 200 examples of misleading asset valuations by Trump and the Trump Organization between 2011 and 2021. James accused Trump of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to satisfy loan terms and get better insurance coverage.
James is seeking to permanently bar Trump, his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump from running companies in New York state, and to prevent them and his company from buying new properties and taking out new loans in the state for five years. James is also seeking to have the defendants disgorge around $250 million that she described as obtained through fraud.
After James announced the lawsuit, Trump in a social media post called the action “Another Witch Hunt.” A lawyer for Trump called the lawsuit’s claims “meritless.”
James said her probe also uncovered evidence of criminal wrongdoing, which she referred to federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service for investigation.
NEW YORK CRIMINAL PROBE
The Trump Organization is set to go on trial on Oct. 24 on New York state criminal tax fraud charges. Its former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, also named as a defendant in the James lawsuit, has pleaded guilty and is expected to testify against the company.
Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, has also been investigating whether Trump misled lenders and others about asset valuations. Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the probe politically motivated. Bragg, a Democrat, said on Wednesday that the investigation concerning Trump and his company was ongoing.
MISSING GOVERNMENT RECORDS
The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of Trump for retaining government records, including some marked as classified, after leaving office in January 2021. The FBI seized 11,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in a court-approved Aug. 8 search, including about 100 marked as classified including top secret.
The department opened its investigation after the National Archives, the U.S. agency responsible for preserving government records, tried to get missing government property returned by Trump and received 15 boxes with classified documents mixed in.
Trump has accused the Justice Department of engaging in a partisan witch hunt.
E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine writer, sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after he denied her allegation that he raped her in the 1990s in a New York City department store. Trump accused her of lying to drum up sales for a book.
In a letter made public on Tuesday, a lawyer for Carroll said she also plans to sue Trump for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress under a new state law in New York giving adult accusers a one-year window to bring civil claims over alleged civil misconduct regardless of when it occurred.
The Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is poised to rule on Trump’s bid to get Carroll’s lawsuit dismissed.
A lawyer for Trump has argued that he is protected by a federal law that makes government employees immune from defamation claims. Trump was president at the time the lawsuit was filed.
U.S. CAPITOL ATTACK
A House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol is investigating whether he broke the law in actions taken to try to overturn his 2020 election defeat. The rioters sought to block Congress from certifying the election results.
Committee Vice chair Liz Cheney has said the committee could make multiple referrals to the Justice Department seeking criminal charges against Trump, who has accused the panel of conducting a politically motivated sham investigation.
The committee cannot charge Trump with federal crimes. That decision must be made by the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
GEORGIA ELECTION TAMPERING PROBE
A special grand jury was selected in May to consider evidence in a Georgia prosecutor’s inquiry into Trump’s alleged efforts to influence that state’s 2020 election results.
The investigation focuses in part on a phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, on Jan. 2, 2021. Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to overturn Trump’s election loss.
Legal experts said Trump may have violated at least three Georgia criminal election laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and intentional interference with performance of election duties.
Trump could argue he was engaging in constitutionally protected free speech.
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