Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits with his attorneys inside the courtroom during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court April 4, 2023 in New York City.
Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Trump called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who obtained a grand jury indictment charging the ex-president with nearly three dozen felony counts of falsifying business records, a “criminal” who should “resign.”
Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading two probes that are eyeing the ex-president for potential crimes, is a “lunatic,” Trump told a crowd at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump said that Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney who is investigating possible election interference in Georgia by him and his allies, is “doing everything in her power to indict me.”
And Trump called New York Attorney General Letitia James, the first Black woman to hold that title, a “racist in reverse” as he blasted the $250 million civil fraud lawsuit that James filed against him, several of his adult children, and the Trump Organization.
Trump’s belligerent remarks about his legal foes — meant to demean them and raise questions about their motivations — also underscored the scope of the peril he potentially faces in multiple courtrooms.
Those cases and investigations show no signs of slowing down.
But neither does Trump, a 76-year-old who remains the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
In fact, his political operation has been fundraising aggressively off the news of his indictment in Manhattan, reportedly raising $10 million in less than five days.
Here’s what to know about the Trump investigations.
Trump on Tuesday became the first ex-president in U.S. history to be arrested and arraigned on criminal charges.
He pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records during his appearance in Manhattan Supreme Court.
In that case, Trump is accused of orchestrating a multiyear “catch and kill” scheme to purchase and suppress negative news about him, then falsifying business records to conceal that conduct.
Bragg alleges that the scheme was intended to boost Trump’s chances in the 2016 presidential election, which he went on to win against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.
Bragg identified three hush money payments that were part of the alleged scheme, two of which involve women who say they had sex with Trump while he was married years before 2016.
Porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid $130,000 by Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen less than two weeks before Election Day.
Trump then reimbursed Cohen for the payment in monthly installments in 2017. Those payments were characterized in Trump Organization business records as being for legal services.
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrives for the opening of the adult entertainment fair Venus in Berlin, Oct. 11, 2018.
Markus Schreiber | AP
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to facilitating to Daniels and a second woman, Karen McDougal, at Trump’s behest before the 2016 election. The ex-Playboy model McDougal received $150,000 from American Media Inc., publisher of The National Enquirer, whose CEO David Pecker had agreed to help Trump’s campaign.
AMI also paid $30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about Trump fathering a child out of wedlock, prosecutors said.
Cohen has since become a vocal critic of his former boss and testified before the grand jury hearing evidence in Bragg’s probe.
The alleged scheme to conceal payments from the public “violated New York election law, which makes it a crime to conspire to promote a candidacy by unlawful means,” Bragg told reporters after Trump’s arraignment.
At that court proceeding, Judge Juan Merchan gave Trump’s legal team until Aug. 8 to file motions in the case.
Prosecutors will have until Sept. 19 to respond.
Merchan scheduled an in-person hearing on Dec. 4 to review those motions. That is just two months before the official start to the presidential primary season, with Republican contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in November appointed Smith, a former federal prosecutor, as special counsel to take charge of two ongoing criminal investigations of Trump.
One of those probes is examining whether Trump or others unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, in which President Joe Biden defeated the incumbent Trump.
The investigation also is eyeing potentially illegal interference surrounding the certification of Biden’s electoral victory by a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump falsely asserted he won the 2020 contest. After the election, he spent weeks challenging his losses in key battleground states and spreading a wide array of baseless conspiracy theories about purportedly extensive election fraud.
As Congress was set to convene on Jan. 6 to confirm Biden’s victory, Trump staged a rally nearby and told a crowd of his supporters to “fight like hell” and march to the Capitol.
He also urged then Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over Congress that day, not to count some key votes for Biden.
And shortly after the proceedings began, a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, forcing the vice president and hundreds of lawmakers to flee their chambers for safety.
More than 1,000 people so far have been arrested on charges related to the riot, the Department of Justice said in March.
Last week, Trump appealed a judge’s ruling ordering a number of his top White House aides to testify before a grand jury in Smith’s probe, according to NBC.
On Wednesday, NBC reported that Pence, who had previously vowed to challenge a special counsel subpoena for his testimony, would not appeal a judge’s recent order for him to comply with that demand.
Smith is also leading an investigation of Trump for retaining classified documents and other government records that were stored at Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House in early 2021.
That probe is eyeing potential crimes for the removal of those records, which are required to be handed over to the National Archives when a president leaves office.
Smith is looking into the possible obstruction of that investigation, as well, in connection with reported efforts by Trump to thwart government officials from recovering the documents in 2022.
Documents seized by FBI from Mar-a-Lago
Source: Department of Justice
The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in August after it learned that more presidential records remained on the premises beyond the 15 boxes of records it had retrieved in January 2022.
The Department of Justice said in court filings that it came to believe records were on the property despite an assertion from Trump’s lawyers in June 2022 that they had all been handed over.
The agents seized thousands of government records, including more than 100 documents with classified markings, in the raid.
Trump’s defense attorney Evan Corcoran reportedly appeared last month before a federal grand jury in Smith’s probe of the Mar-a-Lago documents. The development followed a federal judge’s invocation of the so-called crime-fraud exception in order to force the attorney to testify.
A special grand jury in Atlanta, which was investigating possible interference by Trump and his allies in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, completed its work in January.
The grand jury was impaneled in January 2022 to hear evidence in Willis’ probe.
The panel’s forewoman recently told news outlets that the jurors recommended a range of charges against multiple people.
“You won’t be too surprised,” she told The New York Times when asked if Trump was on that list.
The grand jury was known to be focused on events that include a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” for Trump.
Raffensperger, who is the state’s top election official, refused.
A transcript of a phone call between former U.S. President Donald Trump and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Secretary of State, appears on a video screen during the fourth hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on June 21, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
Georgia was one of several key swing states that helped secure Biden’s win over Trump in the election.
In a March court filing, Trump’s lawyers asked a judge to quash the grand jury’s final report and to bar any evidence from that panel from being used to prosecute the former president.
Portions of that final report that were released in February show the grand jury determined that at least one witness may have lied under oath.
Trump is also embroiled in a state-level civil fraud case filed by James, the New York attorney general.
In September, James announced a sweeping lawsuit against Trump, three of his adult children, and his business, the Trump Organization, alleging widespread fraud relating to years’ worth of false or misleading financial statements.
(L-R) Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attend the ground breaking of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Building in Washington July 23, 2014.
Gary Cameron | Reuters
James accused Trump of massively overstating the values of his assets in statements to banks, insurance companies and the IRS in order to obtain more favorable loan and insurance terms for his company, and to benefit from tax deductions or credits.
James’ lawsuit seeks at least $250 million in damages. She also wants to permanently prohibit Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump from serving as an officer of a company in New York.
James also wants the Trump companies named in the suit barred from doing business in New York.
The attorney general said when she filed the suit that she asked for a federal investigation into Trump, saying her office obtained evidence of possible bank fraud.
As part of James’ lawsuit, a New York judge in November appointed an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s financial statements.
A trial in the case is scheduled for Oct. 2.