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A history of Donald Trump’s legal disasters as bid to keep White House papers secret in Capitol inquiry fails

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Donald Trump is no stranger to legal battles, with his latest bid to block an investigation into the Capitol riots from accessing White House records rejected by a judge.

The former US president attempted to block the National Archives from releasing documents concerning the deadly 6 January insurrection to a committee investigating the riots, by claiming he can assert executive privilege, which gives a president the right to keep internal communications secret.

But US District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that there was a strong public interest in obtaining the records and rejected what she said was Mr Trump’s claim that executive privilege “exists in perpetuity”.

“Presidents are not kings, and the plaintiff is not president,” she said.

Mr Trump has filed a notice saying that he will appeal the ruling which is likely to reach the US Supreme Court.

© Provided by The i A mob of Donald Trump supporters climb through a window as they storm the US Capitol Building (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)

It will be added to the pile of other ongoing civil and criminal matters that Mr Trump is embroiled in, some from his pre-presidential business dealings and others while he served as one of the most powerful figures in the world.

USA Today reported in 2016 that Mr Trump and his businesses have been involved in about 4,000 legal cases in some capacity over the past three decades.

According to Just Security, an online forum based at the Reiss Centre on Law and Security at New York University School of Law, which analyses national security, foreign policy and rights, Mr Trump is currently involved in at least 17 civil and criminal cases.

Here are some of the legal cases bearing down on the former president:

Trump’s finances

A multitude of criminal investigations into the Trump organisation’s finances are taking place.

The Manhattan District Attorney, Cryus Vance, is investigating potential tax crimes, insurance fraud and other financial crimes after gaining access to Mr Trump’s tax information.

Investigators have spent more than two years examining whether the family business falsely manipulated property values to obtain loans and tax benefits.

The investigation focused on the Trump Organisation’s chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who served as the business empire’s “financial gatekeeper” for more than two decades and is “a vital source of information for the government about the inner workings of the company”, the New York Times reported.

Mr Vance’s investigation began after Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid hush money to silence two women before the 2016 election about extramarital sexual encounters they claimed to have had with the former Republican President.

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The Trump Organisation and Mr Weisselberg were charged in July with 15 counts of various financial crimes, including tax fraud and falsifying business records, in relation to an alleged 15-year-long tax fraud scheme.

A second long-term grand jury is to hear evidence about the Trump Organisation’s financial practices and potentially to vote on criminal charges, the Washington Post reported last week.

Mr Trump has repeatedly dismissed the inquiry as a politically motivated “witch hunt” and “fishing expedition” by Mr Vance.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has also been investigating allegations that the Trump Organisation altered property values to secure loans and for economic and tax benefits.

The ongoing inquiry began as a civil matter but was ramped up to a criminal one in May this year.

Sexual misconduct lawsuits

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the television show The Apprentice which Mr Trump hosted, alleged that he sexually assaulted her in 2007.

She filed a defamation case after he dismissed the allegation as “phoney”.

Last week, Mr Trump rejected accusations that he was intentionally trying to keep away from being quizzed under oath in the civil case, after he was given a deadline of 23 December to undergo questioning over what he said in denying her sexual assault allegations.

© Provided by The i Summer Zervos accused Donald Trump of defaming her when he denied her sexual assault allegations (Photo: Kathy Willens/AP)

Elizabeth Jean – more commonly known as E Jean – Carroll, an American journalist and advice columnist, accused Mr Trump of raping her in the 1990s.

Mr Trump denied the allegation and accused her of fabricating the story to drum up publicity for her upcoming book, to which Ms Carroll responded by suing him for defamation.

In September, a judge denied Mr Trump’s request to stop the lawsuit while an appeals case is pending on an earlier ruling made in the matter. The appeal is due to be heard on 3 December, according to Just Security.

Mary Trump

Mary Trump is suing Mr Trump, her uncle, and his siblings for allegedly defrauding her out of tens of millions of dollars in inheritance.

When her father – Mr Trump’s brother – died in 1981, he left Ms Trump a valuable stake in the Trump property empire.

As she was under 18 at the time, Mr Trump and his siblings took control of her share, but Ms Trump has accused them of siphoning off revenue from her share and “deceived her about the true value of what she had inherited”, according to the indictment.

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She accepted a settlement in April 2001 of her share of the family holdings, but after the New York Times broke its 2018 story that the Trump Organisation had been fraudulently manipulating the values of its assets, Ms Trump said she realised that she had settled for tens of millions of dollars less than what her stake was actually worth.

In September this year, Mr Trump filed his own legal case against Ms Trump, the New York Times and several of its reporters, alleging that his niece provided confidential documents – including his tax records – to the reporters which he asserts breached their 2001 settlement, and that the New York Times and its reporters should be liable for encouraging her to do so.

Misuse of inauguration funds

In the run-up to his inauguration as president in 2017, his inaugural committee raised a record $107 million to spend on festivities.

As a nonprofit, the inaugural committee was bound by rules to use these charitable funds for the public good.

© Provided by The i A view of Trump International Hotel in Washington DC (Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Attorney General of Washington DC, Karl Racine, accused the committee of “wasting” $1 million in nonprofit funds to pay for event space at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. However, a judge threw out this part of the case on Monday, saying a charge of “waste” requires a very high burden of proof.

The judge allowed Mr Racine’s second line of arguement in the case to move forward, which alleges that the nonprofit committee had misused assets for the Trump family’s private gain, which will proceed to trial.

Election tampering

The Fulton County District Attorney in Georgia, Fani Willis, opened a criminal investigation into attempted election interference by Mr Trump and his allies.

Prosecutors are investigating a phone call made by Mr Trump in January to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he urged him to “find 11,780 votes” — enough to reverse the state’s election result.

Mr Raffensperger said last month that he would “gladly participate” in an interview with state prosecutors, telling CBS that his office has “fully complied, sent all the documents that we had, and she (Ms Willis) actually talked to some of our staff members”.

Voting rights activists in Michigan and the civil rights organisation NAACP are suing Mr Trump for his post-election conduct which they alleged violated the Voting Rights Act.

After losing the election, Mr Trump spent weeks pressuring Republican election officials not to certify the election and to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

In February this year, the defendants moved to dismiss the case, saying that their conduct did not violate the law.