What lawsuits and investigations is Donald Trump facing?

·4 min read
<span>Photograph: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump said on Monday that FBI agents searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

While the search appears to be part of an investigation into Trump’s unlawful removal and destruction of White House records after his presidency, the businessman and politician is facing investigations and lawsuits on a number of fronts.

Here’s a recap.

Missing national records

Related: FBI searches Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home

The US National Archives and Records Administration (Nara) in February notified Congress that it had recovered about 15 boxes of White House documents from Trump’s Florida home, some of which contained classified materials.

The US House of Representatives Oversight Committee at that time said it was expanding an investigation into Trump’s actions and asked the Archives to turn over additional information. Trump previously confirmed that he had agreed to return certain records to the Archives, calling it “an ordinary and routine process”.

Attack on the US Capitol

A congressional panel investigating the January 6 attack by Trump supporters on the US Capitol is working to build a case that he broke the law in trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

Vice chair Liz Cheney has said the committee could make multiple referrals to the Justice Department seeking criminal charges against Trump, who accuses the panel of conducting a sham investigation.

In a March court filing, the committee detailed Trump’s efforts to persuade Mike Pence to either reject slates of electors for Joe Biden, who won the election, or delay a congressional count of those votes.

The committee cannot charge Trump with federal crimes. That decision must be made by the Justice Department, led by attorney general Merrick Garland. If the Justice Department brings charges, prosecutors’ main challenge will be proving that Trump acted with corrupt intent, experts said.

Trump also could be charged with “seditious conspiracy”, a rarely used statute that makes it illegal to overthrow the US government by force, a charge that has already been levied against multiple participants in the assault.

Wire fraud

Democrats said in a June hearing of the January 6 committee that Trump, a Republican, raised some $250m from supporters to advance fraudulent claims in court that he won the election, but steered much of the money elsewhere.

This raises the possibility that he could be charged with wire fraud, which prohibits obtaining money on “false or fraudulent pretenses”, legal experts said.

Georgia election tampering

A special grand jury was selected in May to consider evidence in a Georgia prosecutor’s inquiry into Trump’s alleged efforts to influence the state’s 2020 election results.

The investigation focuses in part on a phone call Trump made to Brad Raffensperger, the Republican Georgia secretary of state, on 2 January 2021.

Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to overturn Trump’s election loss, according to an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post.

Legal experts said Trump may have violated at least three Georgia criminal election laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, and intentional interference with performance of election duties.

Trump could argue he was engaging in free speech and did not intend to influence the election.

New York criminal inquiry

Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, has been investigating whether Trump’s family real estate company misrepresented the values of its properties to get favorable bank loans and lower tax bills.

Two top lawyers who had been leading the investigation resigned in February, throwing the probe’s future into question, but Bragg’s office has said it is ongoing.

New York attorney general civil inquiry

Letitia James, the New York state attorney general, is conducting a civil investigation examining whether the Trump Organization inflated real estate values. Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump, agreed to testify in the probe starting on 15 July.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in both New York cases and described them as politically motivated.

E Jean Carroll’s defamation case

E Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine writer, sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after the then-president denied her allegation that he raped her in the 1990s in a New York City department store. He accused her of lying to drum up sales for a book.
The second circuit court of appeals in Manhattan is poised to rule on whether Carroll’s lawsuit should be dismissed.

A lawyer for Trump has argued that he is protected by a federal law that makes government employees immune from defamation claims.

Does a presidential run mean Trump can’t be prosecuted?

No. Although the Justice Department has a decades-old policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, there is no such protection for presidential candidates.