early and often

The Case(s) Against Donald Trump

It’s hard to keep track, so we made a guide.

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images
Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images

Donald Trump is under three separate indictments and is currently awaiting a fourth as the 2024 election draws near. In addition to the charges levied against him by special counsel Jack Smith and Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis is expected soon to reveal whether she will charge Trump over election interference in Georgia. And, if that weren’t enough, the former president is facing several civil suits including one led by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who is alleging that Trump committed business fraud. Here’s what we know so far.

January 6 and the 2020 Election Aftermath

Case type: Criminal
Where: U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Prosecutor: Jack Smith, DOJ special counsel
When: March 4, 2024

In probably the most important single case the Justice Department has ever brought, Trump was indicted on August 1 for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which led to the attack on the Capitol. (It’s the second federal criminal indictment; see below.) Though Trump’s legal team pushed for a 2026 trial and Smith had requested that proceedings begin just after the new year, Judge Tanya Chutkan has ordered a trial start date of March 4, 2024. If that date holds, Trump will be on trial the day before Super Tuesday, one of the biggest days of the presidential election calendar.

Classified Documents at Mar-a-Lago

Case type: Criminal
Where: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Prosecutor: Jack Smith, DOJ special counsel
When: May 20, 2024

A year after the FBI recovered dozens of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, Trump was hit with the first-ever federal indictment of a former president in June. He was charged with 37 counts, including willful retention of national defense information and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Then in July, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment that included an additional three charges against Trump and alleged that he plotted with two employees to destroy incriminating security-camera footage. Trump’s trial is scheduled to begin next spring, by which time the Republican primary will likely be over and the general election against Joe Biden will have begun.

Election Tampering in Georgia

Case type: Criminal
Where: Fulton County, Georgia
Prosecutor: Fani Willis, Fulton County district attorney
When: Indicted August 14

A grand jury indicted Trump and 18 other defendants under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act on August 14, following a two-year investigation into election interference by Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis. The defendants, which include members of Trump’s inner circle like Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Sidney Powell and others are alleged to have taken part in a criminal conspiracy to change the outcome of the 2020 election. In addition to violations of the state’s RICO act, the defendants face numerous charges including forgery, criminal attempt to commit influencing witnesses and many more. A trial date will be set in the upcoming weeks.

Stormy Daniels Hush Money

Case type: Criminal
Where: New York County
Prosecutor: Alvin Bragg, Manhattan district attorney
When: March 25, 2024

On March 30, a grand jury voted to indict Trump, making him the first former president to face criminal charges. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, had paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to prevent her from sharing her story about an alleged past affair with Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen has maintained that his former boss directed him to make the payoff, reimbursed him in a series of payments for the cost, and cooked the Trump Organization’s books to cover it up. Trump surrendered in Manhattan and was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree over how the payments to Cohen were recorded by the Trump Organization. Judge Juan Merchan has set rules barring Trump from keeping evidence in the case, requiring that certain material be held only by his lawyers. The trial is currently set for March 25, 2024.

Business Fraud in New York

Case type: Civil
Where: New York County
Prosecutor: Letitia James, New York attorney general
When: October 2

Last September, New York attorney general Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging that the famed businessman had committed fraud by misrepresenting his net worth and the valuations of several of his properties as a means to deceive banks and lenders. The suit named three of Trump’s adult children — Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric — as well as the Trump Organization. James is seeking $250 million and to permanently bar the Trumps from operating a business in New York State.

The former president sat for a second deposition in the case earlier in April 2023 and was questioned for hours in James’s Manhattan office. (In his previous deposition last year, Trump reportedly invoked the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times.) The case is expected to go to trial in October 2023 after a judge recently rejected an attempt by Trump’s legal team to delay the proceedings by six months.

E. Jean Carroll

Case type: Civil
Where: New York Supreme Court
Attorney: Roberta Kaplan
Verdict: Trump found liable for battery and defamation in May 2023. A second defamation trial begins on January 15, 2024.

In a 2019 New York cover story, writer E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s. After Trump accused her of lying, Carroll, represented by Roberta Kaplan, sued him for defamation. Then she sued for damages over the alleged assault, taking advantage of a recent New York law that extends the statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual abuse. The trial began in April, and on May 9, a jury ruled that Trump was liable for sexual assault and defamation, awarding Carroll $5 million in damages. Trump’s legal team is expected to appeal.

A second defamation trial will begin in federal court in New York on January 15, 2024 — which will allow Carroll to amend her original defamation lawsuit against Trump to add the claims he made about her at a CNN town hall.

This post has been updated.

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The Case(s) Against Donald Trump