Donald Trump’s legal woes are mounting just as the race for the 2024 presidential election heats up.
(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump’s legal woes are mounting just as the race for the 2024 presidential election heats up.
The former president, who’s campaigning for another term in the White House, potentially faces as many as six criminal and civil cases in the next year, including lawsuits against him, his family and companies. The four criminal indictments pose the greatest threat to the former president because they all carry potential prison terms.
Five of those trials have already been scheduled. The trials, some of which are expected to last for weeks, overlap with key primary election dates, raising questions about the obstacles and consequences Trump will have to face as he ramps up his 2024 campaign.
GOP voters will be choosing their nominee in a series of primaries beginning Jan. 15 in Iowa.
Two cases were brought by the Justice Department, another by state prosecutors in Manhattan and most recently, Georgia state prosecutors filed a racketeering indictment against the former president and 18 codefendants. The trial date for the Georgia case remains up in the air.
Trump also faces two civil suits in both state and federal court in New York.
March 4, 2024: Trump’s Attempt to Overturn the 2020 Election
Trump is expected to face the first criminal fraud trial on in early March, over a case brought by Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith over alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. In that case, Smith alleges Trump for months knowingly spread lies about the election being rigged in order to undermine public faith in the vote and remain in power.
The trial is scheduled to take place the day before Super Tuesday, when 14 states, including delegate-rich Texas and California, hold their primaries.
Trump was charged with conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against the right to vote and have that vote counted, according to the indictment.
The charges carry penalties of as long as 20 years in prison, but Trump would likely face far less than the maximum penalties if convicted since he doesn’t have a criminal record.
March 25, 2024: Manhattan Criminal Trial Over Alleged Payments
The first ever criminal indictment against a current or former president is set to begin March 25 in Manhattan state court.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges in that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump directed his then-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to make hush-money payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels to bury damaging allegations of a sexual encounter to win the White House. Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal the true nature of the payments in the indictment filed in March.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan has already ordered Trump had to appear in person for his April 4 arraignment where he pleaded not guilty and at a second hearing in May — but excused the former president from at least one court proceeding while he was campaigning.
Trump’s next scheduled court appearance in that case is Jan. 4.
May 20, 2024: Trump’s Handling of Classified Documents
Trump was charged by the Department of Justice in June with mishandling classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago compound. US Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the case, on Friday set that trial to begin May 20, rejecting the Justice Department’s bid to try the case in December, as well as the former president’s request for a delay until after the 2024 election.
The trial date falls after nearly all the 2024 primaries have been completed, but before an official Republican presidential nominee is named at the convention in July. Trump will still have be in court to face the criminal charges, legal experts said.
“It’s a fundamental right for a defendant to be present at their trial,” said David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor in Florida, now in private practice. “He can’t say, ‘I’m too busy to come to court because I’m running for president.’”
Jan. 15, 2024: E. Jean Carroll’s Defamation Suit
Trump faces a second federal trial over allegations brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll, starting Jan. 15 in Manhattan federal court.
In May, Carroll won a landmark verdict against Trump when a jury found him liable for sexually abusing her during an alleged attack in a dressing room in 1996 and awarded her $5 million in damages.
Carroll claims in this 2019 suit that Trump defamed her by accusing her of fabricating the attack in order to gain attention and sell a book. Carroll is seeking at least $10 million in damages.
Unlike criminal cases where a defendants must appear, defendants aren’t required to be in court in civil cases, so it’s unclear if Trump will show up to defend himself for his two civil trials. Trump didn’t appear in court for the first trial with Carroll and his lawyers haven’t said if he’ll attend the second Carroll trial or the state suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Oct. 2, 2023: NY Attorney General’s Fraud Suit
Trump faces off with New York state’s top prosecutor in a trial in Manhattan state court starting Oct. 2 in a $250 million fraud case against the former president, his company and two of his sons.
The suit filed by James in September 2022 alleges that Trump, his sons and their family business overvalued his assets by billions of dollars.
New York state judge Arthur Engoron, who has rejected Trump’s bid to throw out the case, directed the trial would start in October “come hell or high water.” Engoron has estimated the trial could last as long as two months.
James alleges Trump and his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, lied to lenders and insurers about the value of the former president’s assets in order to get favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums.
–With assistance from Zoe Tillman.
(updates with trial date of 2020 federal case starting after the chart)
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