In the coming months, Donald Trump’s growing legal troubles may worsen. At least three investigations could lead to further criminal charges against him.
Federal officials are investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Separately, a grand jury in Georgia could indict Trump by September for his attempts to change the state’s election results. Any of these charges could carry a prison sentence.
Fees are not guaranteed. “It’s certainly possible that there will be more indictments,” my colleague Alan Foer, who covers federal investigations, told me. “But it’s also certainly possible that there isn’t.”
Nor will a trial or conviction necessarily prevent Trump from running for president. He may not be tried or convicted before the 2024 election. He could have campaigned from prison, as Socialist candidate Eugene Debs did in 1920. Some legal experts think he might even try to rule from prison, if he wins the presidency.
Trump is already the first president, current or former, to be charged with a crime. The Manhattan district attorney accused him of an illegal scheme to cover up possible sex scandals in 2016. Last month, a jury found Trump liable in a civil case for $5 million in sexual assault and defamation.
Today’s newsletter will focus on the three additional investigations to help you prepare for potential news for the coming months.
documents in Mar-a-Lago
The Secret Documents case may be nearing completion. In August, the FBI disclosed at Trump’s Florida home more than 100 classified documents that were supposed to remain in government possession. The Justice Department is trying to determine whether Trump hid documents after he received a subpoena ordering him to return them.
One piece of potential evidence in the case, which was unsealed this week: Prosecutors have a recording of Trump discussing a sensitive military document he kept after leaving the White House, which he acknowledged had never been declassified before.
It is not unusual for officials to misplace or keep classified documents in their homes, often by accident. Such documents have been found in the homes of President Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence. What is unusual in Trump’s case is his efforts to keep the documents after federal officials requested their return. These efforts may expose him to charges of obstruction of justice.
There are a few reasons why prosecutors might not charge Trump. The underlying crime—the mishandling of classified documents—was often solved without charges being brought; The officials return the files and the plaintiffs move on. Given that any charges against Trump could result in a political backlash, the Justice Department may view the cost of a trial as too high.
(These Times graphics take you behind the scenes at Mar-a-Lago.)
January 6 attack
Another federal investigation focuses on Trump’s efforts to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election.
Part of the investigation may focus on whether Trump incited the violence on January 6. On social media and at rallies he has organized, he has falsely claimed to have won the 2020 election and demanded that state officials change the results in his favour. In late December 2020, Trump called for a “wild” protest on January 6, 2021. At a rally that morning, he directed the crowd to “fight like hell” and march on the Capitol. After they became violent, he waited hours before telling them to go home.
Prosecutors have also charged hundreds of other suspects in the attack and may feel compelled to charge the person they see as the main instigator.
However, the potential case against Trump has weaknesses: He did not explicitly order the attack or order his supporters to storm the Capitol. Finally encourage them to disperse.
After Jan. 6, federal prosecutors could file further charges related to Trump’s plans to stay in the White House. “It’s not only a huge case to prove in terms of the number of witnesses and the complexities of gathering evidence – it’s also very complex legally,” Allan said.
(These videos run during the January 6th attack.)
The Georgia investigation has a clearer timeline. Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis said that if a grand jury indicts, it will by September. A separate special jury, which can recommend charges but not an indictment, has already recommended several indictments.
The Georgia case could involve multiple defendants and could focus on racketeering charges over a scheme to undermine the election. Prosecutors can argue that Trump and his team worked together to try to overturn the results of 2020, committing multiple crimes along the way.
Willis has a big piece of evidence: an audio recording in which Trump tells Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” nearly 12,000 votes to tip the state’s tally in his favour.
Prosecutors’ biggest challenge could be proving Trump’s intent. For example, in the phone call, did Trump demand that Georgia officials annul the results, or did he ask them to check whether they failed to count legitimate votes? Trial can run these types of cases.
murder mystery: Nest has been attacked. Suspect: Asfour.
Modern love: An episode of “Friends” helped one of the writers recover.
Co-authors: Mary Trump and E. Jean Carroll write a romance novel together.
blisters? Try these hiking socks.
Tip from Wirecutter: Choose the best olive oil from the grocery store.
live live: Amitai Etzioni was a sociologist who advised US presidents and was the father of participatoryism, a political middle ground between the left and the right. He died at the age of 94.
Game 1: Denver beat Miami in the NBA Finals. Nikola Jokic looked unstoppable, the Athletic wrote.
Churchill Downs: The Kentucky Derby house is changing its rules to keep weak horses off the track after the recent deaths of 12 people, The Times reports.
Eighth-grade student Dev Shah won the Scripps National Award for spelling “psammophile” (a plant or animal that thrives in sandy areas). He won after 14 rounds including such words as “probouleutic”, “zwitterion”, and “schistorrhachis”.
The schwa sound—the “uh”-like sound that can be represented by any vowel in the English alphabet—was killer cold. He knocked out several finalists, as is typical.
Related: Can you spell it like Dave? Play our game.