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Trump’s Troubles

Former president Donald Trump is no stranger to news headlines, especially with the impending possibility of becoming the first United States president to face criminal charges. But with all the “Trump this,” and “Trump that,” where does Trump actually stand in legal waters?

Manhattan Criminal Case

In 2016, Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid adult film star Stormy Daniels to prevent the selling of her adulterous affair account with Trump from 2006. This transaction was not illegal. However, when Trump wrote off his reimbursement to Cohen as ‘legal fees,’ he falsified business documents – a misdemeanor and criminal offense in New York – or so goes the case set against him.

The latest in this case, Trump being invited to speak to a grand jury, signals great likelihood of criminal charges, according to experts.

Classified Documents Inquiry

This Friday, Trump’s defense attorney, Evan Corcoran, is set to testify before a grand jury regarding the classified documents found in Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida home, in 2022. Three laws surround this case, cited in the initial raid’s search warrant.

  The Espionage Act: “criminalizes the unauthorized retention or disclosure of information related to national defense that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary.” It also carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

·         Section 1519 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act: “sets a penalty of up to 20 years in prison per offense for the act of destroying or concealing documents or records ‘with the intent to impede, obstruct or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter’ within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies.”

·         Section 2071: “criminalizes the theft or destruction of government documents. It makes it a crime, punishable by up to three years in prison per offense, for anyone with custody of any record or document from a federal court or public office to willfully and unlawfully conceal, remove, mutilate, falsify or destroy it.”

In sum, Trump could see up to 33 years behind bars for this case alone.

Jan. 6 Inquiries

In Dec. 2022, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol published an 845-page report, concluding “Mr. Trump and some of his associates had devised ‘a multipart plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election’ and disclosed in exhaustive detail the events leading to the attack on the Capitol,” the New York Times said.

Trump was accused of inciting insurrection and conspiracy to defraud the United States and is being investigated for various ‘schemes’ he and allies tried to implement, including a plan to create false slates of pro-Trump electors in swing states.

In recent news, Mike Pence has been ordered to testify regarding the conversations he had with Trump leading up to Jan. 6.

Georgia Criminal Inquiry

Emily Kohrs, the forewoman for a special grand jury investigating potential criminal interference in the 2020 election in Georgia, said indictments were recommended for more than a dozen people. Although they declined to say if Trump was among those dozen, Kohrs did say “you’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science.”

The final decision on charges lies in the hands of the Fulton County district attorney, Fani T. Willis, and is expected by May.

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