This new investigation adds to a long list of lawsuits involving the former president that could jeopardize his finances and possibly his freedom.
After resigning and losing the protection the presidency afforded him, Trump is now facing multiple criminal investigations, state civil investigations and defamation charges filed by two women accusing him of sexual assault.
In the three weeks since Trump left the White House, the many legal threats he faces have increased and become more compelling.
Results of the elections in Georgia
Georgian authorities have announced that two new investigations have been launched against the former president following his calls to election officials to try to have the results of state elections declared invalid.
A source familiar with the Georgia Secretary of State’s investigation confirmed that it is considering two appeals, one of which is to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
In a January phone call, the audio of which was obtained by CNN, Trump urged Raffensperger to find votes to overturn the election results after losing to then-President Joe Biden.
It’s not an easy case, but it’s also not a case to run away from, said Bret Williams, a former federal prosecutor in New York and Atlanta. It’s hard to prove that he wanted to incite Raffensperger to commit election fraud, but maybe he did.
Trump’s senior counsel, Jason Miller, told CNN that the planned conversation between Trump and Raffensperger was not unfortunate or inappropriate.
If Raffensperger didn’t want to receive election calls, he shouldn’t have run for state office, Miller said in a statement.
The investigation also includes a December phone call to an election investigator from the Georgia Secretary of State who was investigating allegations of election fraud in Cobb County. You hear Trump ask an investigator to find the crook, and say the cop is a national hero.
The second investigation in Georgia is being conducted by the Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office, which announced Wednesday that it had also filed a complaint against Trump for his efforts to influence Georgia’s 2020 general election.
Anyone who breaks the law will be held accountable, regardless of social status, economic status, race or gender. We’re not going to treat anyone differently, Fani Willis, prosecutor in Fulton County, said earlier this week in an interview with CNN contributor WSB.
Fulton County’s first Grand Jury is expected to convene in March, and the prosecutor’s office may request subpoenas to appear before the jury by then if necessary.
I think the laws were broken because I think it was a clear attempt by the then president of the United States, who I think also had some power at the time, to influence the secretary of state to do something wrong, said Michael Moore, a former prosecutor in the Middle District of Georgia under the Obama administration.
I think that’s what the law says, and if that happened, it’s a violation of the law, he said.
Commercial operations in New York
Trump is also the subject of criminal investigation in New York City, where the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is investigating whether the Trump organization has violated state laws, such as insurance fraud, tax evasion or other forms of fraud. The scope of the survey is broad: Among other things, prosecutors are investigating whether the Trump Organization misled financial institutions when applying for loans or violated tax laws by donating a conservation easement on its property in Seven Springs and taking deductions for consultant fees.
Prosecutors are awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether it will continue to delay enforcement of subpoenas for Mr. Trump’s personal and business tax returns and related documents from his accounting firm for eight years.
If the Supreme Court allows the execution of this writ, it would give a boost to the investigation.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation to determine whether the Trump Organization inflated the value of its assets in order to obtain advantageous loans and insurance coverage.
Alan Garten, general counsel of the Trump Organization, had previously stated to the New York Times that everything had been done in strict compliance with applicable laws and on the advice of legal counsel and tax experts. He added that all applicable taxes had been paid and no party had enjoyed an unfair advantage.
The attorney general removed Eric Trump from his position as executive vice president of the Trump Organization in October. James’ investigation is currently a civil one, but it could turn into a crime.
Rebellion in Washington, DC
In Washington, D.C., the federal prosecutor investigating Jan. 6 on U.S. Capitol Hill reported that no one is above the law, including Trump, and stressed that nothing was beyond him when asked if he considered the former president’s role in inciting violence.
In a series of court cases after more than 200 people were charged with federal crimes, Trump’s influence on the rioters was cited by prosecutors and defendants trying to avoid liability.
In a case filed Thursday against one of the Keepers of the Oath, prosecutors alleged that the woman was waiting for instructions from Trump, and this is the first time they have issued such a direct order.
D.C. Attorney General Carl Racine also warned that Trump could be criminally prosecuted in the days following the riot, saying that D.C. laws prohibit statements that encourage, mislead and . He told MSNBC in January that he incites people to commit acts of violence.
In an interview, Racine said his office, which oversees compliance with local ordinances, is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the case.
Exempt from presidential protection
Trump can no longer rely on the few defensive measures he took when he was president.
It’ll all go faster. He no longer has an excuse to be a sitting president, said Jennifer Rogers, former federal prosecutor and legal analyst at CNN. I think people who expect us to be able to conduct serious civil proceedings more quickly will be disappointed because civil proceedings are so slow anyway.
But, Rogers added, now that he is no longer in office, there is no reason to delay these civil lawsuits.
One of these lawsuits was filed by Racine’s office, which alleges that the Trump organization and the Presidential Inauguration Committee embezzled more than $1 million for the inauguration.
Ivanka Trump took part in an investigation in December, after which she tweeted a letter asking the hotel to charge a fair market rate. Investigators also asked Donald Trump Jr. to participate in the interview.
This investigation is yet another manifestation of politically motivated vindictiveness and a waste of taxpayer money, Ivanka Trump said in her December tweet.
Trump also faces lawsuits for defamation, which have largely stagnated during his tenure.
One was filed by E. Jean Carroll, a former magazine columnist who accused her of rape, and another by Summer Zervos, a former candidate in the Apprentice Campaign who claims the president sexually assaulted her in 2007. Both women claim he defamed them by saying their statements were lies.
Carroll is trying to question Trump and get a DNA sample from him. The case ran until the Justice Department, led by Mr. Trump, tried to intervene in the case.
A federal judge rejected the decision, and Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department appealed. There is no certainty that the Biden administration will follow through with the action.
The lawsuit against Zervos, filed in 2017, has been pending since last year. Trump’s lawyers argued that the U.S. Constitution does not allow a sitting president to be sued in state court.
Last week, Zervos’ attorneys filed a motion with the Court of Appeals asking that the appeal be dismissed and the trial allowed to proceed.
Trump denied doing anything wrong in either lawsuit.
A closer legal question is whether Trump can continue to live full-time at Mar-a-Lago.
Neighbors of the Palm Beach resort say Trump violated his agreement with the city by moving full-time last month. According to local zoning regulations, he is allowed to live there full-time if he is considered a bona fide employee of the club.
There is no ban on the landlord using the apartments, said attorney John Marion. This man (Trump), walks around the grounds as the mayor of Mar-a-Lago, if you will.
After Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council took no action, but is expected to address the issue in the spring.