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Trump faces flurry of investigations beyond Jan. 6 inquiry

Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
 2021-12-03

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As Donald Trump’s lawyers try to block the White House from releasing records to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the former president faces a flurry of other investigations that could come to a head in the coming weeks and the new year.

That includes two major state criminal investigations — one in New York and one in Georgia — and lawsuits concerning sexual assault allegations, a fight over an inheritance and questions of whether he should be held personally liable for inciting the insurrection.

Trump has long dismissed the investigations as politically motivated witch hunts that he claims began with the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But while he has spent most of his life dodging legal consequences, he is no longer shielded by the protections against indictment enjoyed by sitting presidents.

And any charges — which would be the first against a former U.S. president — could affect both his businesses and his future political prospects as he considers running for a second term.

Here’s the latest on where the cases stand:

New York

New York prosecutors investigating the former president’s business dealings recently convened a new grand jury to hear evidence after the previous panel’s term ran out.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is considering more indictments in the case, which resulted in tax fraud charges in July against Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. They are accused of cheating tax authorities through lucrative, untaxed fringe benefits.

Weisselberg is due back in court in July.

Trump himself remains under investigation after Dist. Atty. Cyrus Vance Jr., who is leaving office at the end of the year, spent years fighting for access to the former president’s tax records. Prosecutors have also been considering charges against the company’s chief operating officer, Matthew Calamari Sr.

Investigators working for Vance and New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James have spent more than two years looking into whether the Trump Organization misled banks or tax officials about the value of its assets, inflating them to gain favorable loan terms or minimizing them to reap tax savings.

“I think it’s pretty clear that our investigation is active and ongoing,” Vance said Tuesday.

In addition to its involvement in Vance’s criminal inquiry, James’ office is conducting its own civil investigation.

Separately, Trump is facing scrutiny over properties he owns in the New York City suburbs.

Westchester County Dist. Atty. Mimi E. Rocah subpoenaed records from the town of Ossining while investigating whether Trump’s company misled officials to reduce taxes for a golf course there, two people familiar with the inquiry told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Georgia

In Atlanta, Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis opened an investigation in January into possible attempts to interfere with the administration of the state’s 2020 election, which Trump narrowly lost.

Willis sent letters in February to top elected officials in the state — including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — instructing them to preserve all records related to the election, particularly those that may contain evidence of attempts to influence election officials.

The evidence includes a Jan. 2 phone call between Trump and Raffensperger in which Trump repeatedly and falsely asserts that Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, could change the state’s certified election results that showed Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, won the state. A recording of the call was obtained the next day by news organizations including the AP.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”

Willis has been tight-lipped about the investigation, but her office has confirmed it is ongoing.

“All available evidence is being analyzed, whether gathered by this office, another investigative body or made public by the witnesses themselves. A decision on whether criminal charges are appropriate against any individual will be made when that process is complete,” spokesperson Jeff DiSantis said in an email.

Among the sources sure to be examined by Willis’ team is a book written by Raffensperger and published Nov. 2.

It includes a transcript of the Jan. 2 call annotated with the secretary of state’s observations, including his belief that the president was threatening him at multiple points.

Willis said earlier this year that she was also interested in the circumstances surrounding the sudden resignation on Jan. 4 of Byung J. “BJay” Pak as U.S. attorney in Atlanta.

Pak told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had originally planned to stay in the position until Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, but that he resigned weeks earlier due to pressure from Trump.

Washington, D.C.

The attorney general for the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, said early this year that district prosecutors were investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and considering whether to charge him under a local law criminalizing statements that motivate people to act violently.

There has been no indication, however, that such charges are likely. If Trump were to be charged, it would be a low-level misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

Lawsuits

In addition to the criminal probes underway, Trump also faces a number of civil suits from people including scorned business investors, his estranged niece, and Democratic lawmakers and Capitol Police officers who blame him for inciting the violence on Jan. 6.

Those include a lawsuit brought by the House Homeland Security Committee chair, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits violence or intimidation meant to prevent officials from carrying out their constitutional duties.

In October, Trump was questioned behind closed doors under oath in a deposition for a lawsuit brought by protesters who say his security team assaulted them outside Trump Tower in the early days of his presidential campaign in 2015.

Trump is also facing a defamation case brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll, who says Trump raped her in the mid-1990s in a dressing room at an upscale Manhattan department store. Trump has said that Carroll is “totally lying” and that she is “not my type.”

U.S. Justice Department lawyers argued earlier this year that Trump cannot be held personally liable for “crude and disrespectful” remarks he made about a woman who accused him of rape because he made the comments while he was president. The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case Friday.

Trump had faced a similar defamation lawsuit from Summer Zervos, a former contestant on his reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” who accused Trump of kissing and groping her against her will in 2007 — but she unexpectedly dropped the suit last month.

Separately, Trump’s estranged niece, Mary Trump, has sued him and other family members, accusing them of defrauding her out of millions of dollars of inheritance money.

Trump has filed his own suit against Mary Trump and the New York Times over a 2018 story about his family’s finances that was based partly on confidential documents she provided to the paper. He accuses her of breaching a settlement agreement that barred her from disclosing the documents.

Lawyers for Mary Trump filed paperwork Thursday seeking to dismiss her uncle’s lawsuit against her.

Brumback reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writers Bernard Condon in New York and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times .

Comments / 11

Doctor Dictor
12-03

Why not just complete the investigation on this prick and wrap it up and throw him in a jail. This fkr is just a nuisance!

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6
Guest
12-04

And we care about trumps “feelings” because why? Trump doesn’t give a💩how he disregards and hurts other people’s feelings!

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4
Pacific northwest
12-03

Trump has been investigated for years the democrats will make it up if they have too, while guilty Hunter Biden and the Biden family run free. The Clinton’s, Obamas, and Bidens all should be in prison

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5

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