Former President Donald Trump finds himself in a season of discontent as recent events unfold against him.
The verdict reached by a federal jury, finding Trump guilty of sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s, marks a significant rebuke of a former president and a prominent contender for the 2024 GOP nomination.
However, this outcome is just the beginning. Legal threats, both criminal and civil, are taking shape in Washington, Manhattan, and Atlanta.
These threats pose a challenge that Trump has managed to evade throughout his entire political career.
As he strives to regain the presidency, his efforts will likely be dominated by the struggle to avoid criminal consequences for his actions during his previous tenure in the White House.
With one jury verdict already delivered, which includes a $5 million award to Carroll, it is worth examining what lies ahead in Trump’s ongoing legal battles.
Indictment watch in Fulton County
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is currently conducting an investigation into the actions taken by Donald Trump and his associates to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia, a state narrowly won by President Joe Biden.
Willis has instructed local law enforcement to be prepared for possible indictments between July 11 and September 1.
Willis’s decision to press charges is based on the findings of a special grand jury that she convened to determine whether Trump violated state election laws in his pursuit of remaining in power.
This special grand jury examined Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results both in Georgia and in Washington, focusing specifically on his attempts to pressure state election officials to uncover just enough votes to secure victory in the state.
Although the special grand jury lacks the authority to issue indictments, it made recommendations regarding potential prosecutions earlier this year.
While Willis is not obligated to follow those recommendations, she stated in January that charging decisions were imminent.
Currently, she is required to present the evidence collected by the special grand jury, along with additional information gathered in subsequent months, to a traditional grand jury with the power to issue charges.
Pre-trial motions in the Manhattan hush-money case
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg achieved a historic milestone by securing the first-ever criminal indictment of a former president. Trump now faces numerous felony charges for allegedly manipulating his company’s financial records in order to silence a porn star who accused him of an extramarital affair.
The judge presiding over the case recently urged both sides to reach an agreement on a trial date, tentatively set for February or March 2024. In the interim, a series of pre-trial motions and legal maneuvers are expected, as Trump’s legal team may attempt to dismiss, postpone, or relocate the proceedings to a different district or federal court. The next significant event on the horizon is August 8, the deadline for Trump to file anticipated motions challenging the indictment.
Upcoming trial in New York civil case against the Trump Organization
The Trump Organization, already convicted of tax crimes by a Manhattan jury, is not yet in the clear as further legal troubles loom.
Attorney General Letitia James has initiated a civil case against Trump and his company, alleging that they engaged in a scheme to deceive banks, insurers, and government agencies about the worth of their assets in order to secure beneficial tax benefits.
The trial for this case is set to commence on October 2nd. Its outcome could potentially lead to severe consequences for Trump, including the possibility of being barred from conducting business in New York.
The federal probe of Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election
Special counsel Jack Smith has been on a tear. In recent weeks, he’s hauled in former Vice President Mike Pence to testify to a grand jury, as well as former top aides in the Trump White House — from social media adviser Dan Scavino to policy adviser Stephen Miller to personnel chief Johnny McEntee. Former chief of staff Mark Meadows is expected to appear before the grand jury imminently as well.
These interviews followed a series of intense, secretive legal battles in which Trump fought to stave off their testimony by asserting executive privilege. And in each case, he lost swiftly in both the district court and the court of appeals — setting new precedents for the separation of powers along the way.
The witnesses were key players in the final weeks of Trump’s administration, as he worked desperately to seize a second term despite losing the 2020 election to Biden. When his efforts failed, a mob of his supporters — assembled in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, at Trump’s call — bashed their way into the Capitol and sent Pence and lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
Of all the investigations Trump faces, the timeline here remains murkiest. Smith is still working to prevail in a long-running legal battle to access the communications of Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), whose phone was seized by the FBI last August. Several other sealed legal fights, which are still unresolved, could unlock additional troves of evidence for Smith and his team of prosecutors — each of which could prolong the investigation by identifying new leads.
The federal probe of Trump’s handling of classified documents
Smith’s work isn’t limited to Jan. 6. He’s also probing Trump’s handling of scores of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate more than a year after Trump left office. This probe appears significantly more advanced than the Jan. 6 probe, in part because it involves a smaller universe of potential witnesses, many of whom have already appeared before Smith’s grand jury.
One of those recent appearances came from one of Trump’s own lawyers, Evan Corcoran, who was forced by the courts to testify despite Trump’s effort to assert attorney-client privilege. Observers both inside and outside Trump’s orbit have viewed this investigation as closer to completion than the Jan. 6 probe.
Another lawsuit from E. Jean Carroll
Amid Trump’s sprawling legal thicket, Carroll may get another chance to haul him into court. She has sued him over comments he made about her in 2019 — a lawsuit distinct from the case she won on Tuesday (which involved sexual assault and defamation for comments he made in 2022). A trial has been delayed as courts have weighed whether Trump can be sued in his personal capacity over comments he made while president.