The ex-president faces criminal charges in New York, Florida and Washington DC and Georgia and a civil suit in New York
After four arrests in as many months, Donald Trump has now been charged with 91 felony counts across criminal cases in New York, Florida, Washington and Georgia. The former president and current frontrunner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary faces the threat of prison time if he is convicted.
As Trump attempts to delay his criminal trials, civil lawsuits endanger the former president’s financial and business prospects. A New York jury has already found Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming E Jean Carroll, awarding her $5m in damages. A separate civil inquiry, led by New York attorney general Letitia James, seeks $250 million that the Trump Organization allegedly obtained through fraud.
Here’s where each case against Trump stands:
Charges: 40 counts, including willful retention of national defense information under the Espionage Act and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Summary: In the weeks before he left the White House in January 2021, Trump and his aides allegedly packed up hundreds of classified documents with his personal belongings and transported those documents to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Federal officials repeatedly tried to recover the classified materials, but prosecutors say Trump intentionally withheld dozens of documents from investigators and misled them as they attempted to locate the missing files.
- In May 2021, the National Archives sent a letter to Trump’s lawyers asking them to return all presidential records, after officials realized that several important documents were missing.
- In January 2022, Trump’s aides transferred 15 boxes of records to the National Archives. Some were marked as classified national security information, prompting a referral to the Department of Justice.
- In May 2022, a grand jury convened by the Department of Justice issued a subpoena to Trump, requiring him to return all remaining classified documents.
- In August 2022, a federal judge approved a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago amid concerns that additional classified documents remained in Trump’s possession. FBI agents carried out the search days later, and they recovered more than 100 documents with classified markings.
- In November 2022, shortly after Trump announced his re-election campaign, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee both the documents case and the federal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
- In June, Smith indicted Trump on 37 federal counts, including 31 violations of the Espionage Act. Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges, and was released on bail.
- Judge Aileen Cannon set a trial start date of 14 August, in line with Smith’s request for a “speedy trial”. Smith requested an 11 December start date for the trial, while Trump’s team asked the judge to postpone the trial indefinitely.
- In July, Trump’s valet and co-defendant in the documents case, Walt Nauta, pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges.
- In July, Cannon rejected Trump’s motion to delay the trial until after the 2024 presidential election but agreed to push the start date to 20 May 2024.
- In late July, Smith filed a superseding indictment that expanded the scope of the charges against Trump and added another co-defendant to the case, the Mar-a-Lago club maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira. According to the updated indictment, Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira engaged in a scheme to delete Mar-a-Lago security footage showing boxes of classified documents being moved from a storage room.
Charges: 34 felony charges of falsifying business records
Summary: The case involves a hush-money scheme during the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to quash her story about having an extramarital affair with the former president. Trump has denied the affair took place. Prosecutors accuse the former president of illegally reimbursing Cohen for the hush-money payment by falsely classifying the transaction, executed by the Trump Organization, as legal expenses.
- In January 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen arranged a payment of $130,000 to Daniels a month before the 2016 election to prevent her from speaking publicly about the alleged affair with Trump.
- In August 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations in New York. Cohen claimed that Trump arranged the payment to Daniels, but the then-president was not charged.
- In July 2021, the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, were indicted on tax fraud charges.
- In August 2022, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 charges, and he agreed to testify against the Trump Organization as part of his deal with prosecutors.
- In December 2022, the Trump Organization was found guilty on all counts of criminal tax fraud and falsification of business records.
- In January, the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, began presenting evidence to a grand jury on Trump’s role in the hush-money scheme.
- In March, Bragg’s office indicted Trump on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.
- In April, Trump pleaded not guilty to all counts, and he was released from custody on his own recognizance. His next court date in the case is set for 4 December.
- In July, the US district judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected Trump’s bid to move the case out of state court to federal court. The trial is scheduled to begin in Manhattan on 25 March 2024.
Charges: Four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights in his relentless pursuit to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election and remain in office.
Summary: On 6 January 2021, a group of Trump’s supporters staged a violent attack on the US Capitol in an effort to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. A bipartisan Senate report later concluded that seven people died in connection to the insurrection. The House impeached Trump for inciting the insurrection, but the former president was acquitted by the Senate. He now faces criminal charges over his role in the attack.
- In June 2021, the House of Representatives voted to create a select committee to investigate the causes and consequences of the January 6 attack.
- In May 2022, a grand jury investigating the January 6 attack issued a subpoena to the National Archives requesting all White House documents given to the House select committee, indicating that federal prosecutors were following similar lines of inquiry.
- In November 2022, shortly after Trump announced his re-election campaign, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee both the federal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the classified documents case.
- In December 2022, the House select committee voted unanimously to refer Trump to the Department of Justice for potential criminal charges over his role in the attack. The suggested charges include obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to defraud the government and inciting or assisting an insurrection.
- The grand jury has continued to issue subpoenas and hear witness testimony in recent weeks. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and former White House adviser, testified before the panel in June, the New York Times reported.
- Trump said on Truth Social on 18 July that he received a letter informing him that he is a target in Smith’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. According to the Guardian’s reporting, Smith’s letter cited three potential charges against Trump, including conspiracy to violate civil rights and obstruction of an official proceeding.
- On 1 August, Trump was informed he was indicted by a grand jury on four counts involving trying to overturn the 2020 election.
- On 3 August, Trump was arrested and arraigned in Washington. He pleaded not guilty to all four felony counts.
- On 28 August, US district court judge Tanya Chutkan set a trial date of 4 March 2024, rejecting Trump’s request to delay the trial until 2026.
Charges against Trump: 13 counts including racketeering, forgery, perjury, filing false documents, false statements and others.
Summary: As part of his frantic efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, Trump infamously instructed the Georgia secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to rob Joe Biden of his win in the battleground state. The Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, has been investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia for more than two years.
- In May 2022, a special purpose grand jury was seated to hear evidence in the case.
- In August 2022, prosecutors informed Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s former lawyers, that he was a target of the grand jury’s investigation.
- In January, the grand jury finished its final report after hearing from 75 witnesses, and a judge recommended that the panel be dissolved. Willis suggested at the time that decisions of charges in the case were “imminent”, but no such announcement has yet been made.
- In February, portions of the grand jury report were made public, although a judge ruled the full report would remain secret. The publicly released portions revealed that the grand jury suspected multiple witnesses may have lied and committed perjury, but they did not shed light on whether Trump will face criminal charges.
- In late February, the forewoman of the grand jury revealed the panel had recommended that multiple people be indicted for interfering with the election. The names of those people were not disclosed, but the forewoman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “You’re not going to be shocked.”
- In April, Willis said she expected to announce charging decisions this summer.
- In May, a court filing showed that half of the so-called fake electors who sought to declare Trump the winner of Georgia had accepted immunity deals from prosecutors.
- On 14 August, Trump and 18 others were named in a 98-page indictment at the Fulton county courthouse.
- On 24 August, Trump surrendered at Fulton county jail, where he became the first former US president to ever have his mugshot taken. He was released on a $200,000 bond.
Allegations against Trump: Defamation and sexual abuse
Summary: The case centers on allegations by writer E Jean Carroll that Trump sexually assaulted her at a department store in 1996. Trump has denied the allegations while repeatedly attacking Carroll’s character, and his actions are now at the center of two civil lawsuits.
- In June 2019, Carroll published an excerpt of her memoir, in which she accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan. Trump quickly issued a statement denying the accusation, claiming he had never met Carroll.
- In November 2019, Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump, accusing him of having “smeared her integrity, honesty and dignity”.
- The case was repeatedly delayed amid legal wrangling over whether the federal government was allowed to step in to represent Trump in the case because he was a government official at the time. A judge eventually rejected that effort, ruling the justice department could not fill Trump’s shoes in the case because he was not acting in his official capacity as a government official when he made the defamatory comments about Carroll.
- In November 2022, on the same day that the Adult Survivors Act went into effect in New York, Carroll filed a second lawsuit against Trump accusing him of defamation and sexual battery. The Adult Survivors Act gave victims of sexual violence over the age of 18 a one-year window to file civil lawsuits against their alleged abusers, despite the statute of limitations.
- In March, a judge denied Carroll’s request to consolidate the two lawsuits into one. Instead, the first lawsuit was put on pause as the second lawsuit moved forward.
- In April, the trial for Carroll’s second lawsuit began. Carroll testified to the New York jury that Trump forcibly pulled down her tights in the department store dressing room, and the experience left her unable to explore romantic relationships. She also claimed that she was fired from her job as an advice columnist for Elle Magazine, where she worked for 26 years, because of Trump’s defamatory comments.
- In May, the jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation, although the former president was not found liable for rape. The jury awarded Carroll about $5m in damages, but because it was a civil case, Trump did not face criminal charges in connection to the judgment. Trump has filed an appeal in the case.
- In June, a federal judge ruled that the original defamation lawsuit, in which Carroll is seeking damages of $10m, could move forward. A trial date has been set for January 2024.
Trump Organization civil fraud case
Status: Trial scheduled for 2 October
Key figures: Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, New York attorney general Letitia James, Justice Arthur F Engoron of state supreme court in Manhattan
Allegations against Trump: Financial fraud
- In February 2019, Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified to Congress that the then president had repeatedly lied on financial forms about the value of his assets to procure better tax and loan terms. “It was my experience that Mr Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” Cohen told the House oversight committee.
- His testimony triggered a civil inquiry, led by New York attorney general Letitia James, into the Trump Organization’s business practices:
- In December 2021, Trump filed a lawsuit against James in an attempt to block her investigation from moving forward. Pointing to James’s public criticism of the former president, Trump’s legal team argued the investigation was politically motivated and infringed upon his constitutional rights.
- In April 2022, Judge Engoron held Trump in contempt for failing to respond to a subpoena from James’s office and imposed a fine of $10,000 per day until the former president fully responded to the subpoena. The contempt order was lifted two weeks later but only after Trump agreed to pay a fine of $110,000.
- In May 2022, a federal judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit against James, rejecting the former president’s claims that the investigation violated his rights.
- In August 2022, Trump was deposed by lawyers from James’s office, but he refused to answer their questions. Over four hours of questioning, Trump invoked his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination more than 400 times.
- In September 2022, James filed a lawsuit against Trump, his three eldest children and his company, accusing the former president of falsely inflating his net worth to secure more favorable loan terms and gain tax benefits. The lawsuit seeks $250m and several sanctions to severely curtail Trump’s business dealings in New York, including a five-year ban on acquiring real estate there. Because James’s investigation was a civil inquiry, she did not bring criminal charges against Trump, but she referred potential criminal concerns to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the IRS.
- In November 2022, Trump filed a federal lawsuit in Florida seeking to block James from gaining access to files from a family trust that owns the Trump Organization. The lawsuit was largely viewed as frivolous, and according to the New York Times, Trump’s own lawyers advised him against filing it.
- In November 2022, Engoron granted James’s request to install an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s finances before the case goes to trial. The monitor’s duties included preventing the Trump Organization from transferring assets to another entity in advance of a potential financial penalty.
- In January 2023, Engoron rejected Trump’s motion to have James’s lawsuit dismissed, describing some of the arguments presented by Trump’s legal team as “frivolous”.
- In late January 2023, Trump dropped his federal lawsuit against James after a Florida judge raised serious doubts about its merits.
- In April 2023, Trump was questioned for several hours in connection to the case. Unlike his first deposition, Trump reportedly did not invoke his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination and instead answered lawyers’ questions about the case.
- In June 2023, a New York appellate court dismissed Ivanka Trump from James’s lawsuit, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired because she was no longer working at the Trump Organization by 2016.
- In August 2023, James’s office said in a filing it was “ready for trial”, after Trump’s legal team repeatedly failed to get the trial delayed. The trial is set to begin 2 October.