Explainer: What legal problems does U.S. presidential candidate Trump face?

Nov 15 (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump, who announced on Tuesday that he will run for the White House again in 2024, faces a series of investigations and lawsuits.


The US Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation into Trump for keeping government records, including some marked classified, after he leaves office in January 2021.

The FBI seized 11,000 documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on August 8 in a court-approved search. About 100 documents were marked classified, and some were designated top secret, the highest level of classification.

Trump, a Republican, has accused the Justice Department of engaging in a partisan witch hunt.

A special master, Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond Deary, is reviewing the seized documents to determine whether any are protected by executive privilege, as Trump has claimed.

Executive privilege is a legal doctrine that allows the president to keep certain documents or information secret.

The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to end that review and restore access to unclassified materials obtained during the search, arguing that both measures impede criminal investigations.


New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a civil lawsuit filed in September that her office found more than 200 examples of Trump and the Trump Organization misvaluing assets between 2011 and 2021.

James, a Democrat, accused Trump of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to get lower interest rates on loans and better insurance coverage.

A New York judge ordered the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization before the case goes to trial.

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James is seeking to permanently bar Trump and his children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump, from operating businesses in New York state, and bar them and his company from buying new property and taking out new loans in the state for five years.

James also wants the defendants to hand over about $250 million she says was obtained through fraud.

Trump has called the Attorney General’s lawsuit a witch hunt. Trump’s lawyer has called James’ claims unfounded.

James said her investigation also turned up evidence of wrongdoing, which she referred to federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service for investigation.


The Trump Organization is on trial on New York tax fraud charges in a criminal case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The company, which manages hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world, has pleaded guilty to three counts of tax fraud and six other charges. It could face a fine of up to $1.6 million.

Trump has not been charged with wrongdoing.

The company’s former CFO, Allen Weiselberg, has pleaded guilty and must testify against the Trump Organization under a plea deal. He is also a defendant in James’ civil suit.


E. Jean Carroll, a former writer for Elle magazine, sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after he denied her claims that he raped her in a New York City department store in the 1990s. Trump accused her of lying to increase sales of the book.

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Trump appeared on Oct. 19 to enter a plea in the case, according to his and Carroll’s attorneys.

Trump has argued that he is protected from Carroll’s suit by a federal law that immunizes government employees from defamation charges.

The Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in September that Trump was a federal employee when he called Carroll a liar, but left open the question of whether he was acting as president when he made the statement.

The Washington, DC, appeals court will hear the issue in oral arguments scheduled for January 10, 2023.

Carroll also plans to sue Trump for fear and intentional infliction of emotional distress under New York state law, even if the defamation claim is dismissed.


The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol is investigating whether he broke the law in an effort to overturn his 2020 election defeat. The rebels sought to prevent Congress from confirming the election results.

In October, the Committee invited Trump to testify under oath and submit documents.

The committee’s vice chairwoman, Republican Lisa Cheney, has said the committee could turn to the Justice Department to bring criminal charges against Trump.

Only the Justice Department can decide whether to charge Trump with federal crimes. The commission is expected to publish written findings in the coming weeks.

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Trump has called the commission’s investigation a politically motivated hoax.


In May, a special grand jury was empaneled in a Georgia prosecutor’s investigation into Trump’s alleged efforts to influence the state’s 2020 election results.

The investigation focuses in part on Trump’s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, on January 2, 2021. Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” enough votes needed to overturn Trump’s loss in Georgia.

Legal experts said Trump may have violated at least three of Georgia’s criminal election laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and willful interference with election duties.

Trump could argue that his discussions were constitutionally protected free speech.

In a separate lawsuit, a federal judge in California said on Oct. 19 that Trump knowingly made false voter fraud claims in a Georgia election lawsuit, citing emails the judge reviewed.

Reporting by Luke Cohen in New York and Jacqueline Thomsen in Washington; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Ross Colvin, Noeline Walder, Will Dunham and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Luke Cohen

Thomson Reuters

Reports of the Federal Courts of New York. Previously worked as a correspondent in Venezuela and Argentina.

Jacqueline Thomsen

Thomson Reuters

Based in Washington, D.C., Jacqueline Thomsen provides legal news related to politics, the courts and the legal profession. Follow her on Twitter @jacq_thomsen and email her at [email protected]


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