Defendant Trump: A Review of Outstanding Charges

 By Sean Gray

 April 25,2021

Donald Trump has been a defendant in some 3,500 lawsuits

Post-presidential life promises little relief from the civil, and potentially criminal litigation. Whilst occupying the White House, Trump was able to weaponize the Justice Department to insulate him from trouble. Those protections are gone, and many chickens may be coming home to roost.The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel holds that indicting a sitting president would unconstitutionally undermine his ability to execute his duties. That is no longer at issue, and private citizen Trump has no further pretense for refusing to comply with the subpoenas.

Jan. 6th’s failed coup is indeed a day that will live in infamy. It may cost Trump a day in court. That the then-sitting president incited the mob and did nothing meaningful to discourage the mayhem, there can be not doubt. Whether he is civilly responsible for the ensuing fallout will be determined in a Washington federal court. Capitol police officers, Sidney Hemby and James Blassingame, are each seeking in excess of $75,000 in compensatory damages from Trump for his role in the insurrection. The complaint outlines the public timeline of Trump’s behavior on 1/6 through the context of the pair’s ordeal. Both were assaulted repeatedly by rioters spurred on by ‘’The Big Lie’’. Blassingame sustained head and neck injuries and is said to experience symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Hemby suffered similar injuries and is currently undergoing physical therapy three days a week. Both are on medical leave from their posts. In tying the president to the conduct of his supporters, the lawsuit notes that while Blassingame was under attack by a violent mob, one of his assailants informed him ‘’we were invited by the president.’’ Additionally, 40% of phones tracked near the national mall (the site of Trump’s pre-riot speech), were also found at the capitol at the time it was under siege. Those people heard Trump’s unambiguous call to action, and took him up on it.  The 35-page complaint draws a compelling line between Trump’s conduct and the misfortunate the befall the two officers.

Trump has a long history of defaulting of debts owed. His presidential campaign has proved no exception, owing over a million dollars to a dozen American cities where he held rallies. The expenses mostly stem from additional securities and use of municipal facilities for campaign events. Though no binding agreements were signed, it is generally understood that the cost of political rallies will not be passed on to the taxpayers of the host city. Chalk it up to another norm ignored. The mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico announced on Thursday that the city has sent the $211,000 bill the campaign owes the city to a collection agency. Cities have been deterred from pursuing the matter in court as a favorable judgement would likely be exceeded in the cost to obtain one.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr attempted to substitute the US government in Trump’s place as a defendant in a defamation suit from former Elle magazine columnist, E. Jean Carroll. He failed, and now the lawsuit is slated to proceed. Carroll alleges Trump raped her in a New York City Department store in the mid-1990’s. In denying the allegation, Trump insulted her appearance, character and called her a liar. Carroll was subsequently inundated with hate mail which she claims led to her firing from a position she had held for nearly thirty years. The statute of limitations on the assault has expired. Carroll is seeking damages for defamation and a retraction by Trump. A preponderance of evidence will be a difficult bar to clear. Apart from convincing a jury that her rape allegation is factual, Carroll must demonstrate that it led to her removal from her post.

Trump faces an eerily similar lawsuit from former Apprentice contestant, Summer Zervos. All told, over two dozen women have come forth with claims of sexual impropriety against the former president. The  number of disclosures could prove damaging to Trump’s already less than sterling public image.

Fraud has always been an internal part of Trump’s business dealings. Targeting vulnerable investors in a pyramid scheme is par for the course. It is the crux of a lawsuit against Trump for promoting ‘’multi-level marketing company’’ (MLM). Per the FTC, ‘’99% of individuals who invest in MLM’s lose money. That did not prevent Trump from accepting hefty sums and lending his full throated endorsement to the company, its products and its business model. While Trump was merely a spokesperson for the rouse, his appearances coincided with his time hosting The Apprentice; his name was near synonymous with opulence and prosperity. This, the four psedonounymous plaintiffs allege in the class-action suit, is what motivated them to invest money they could ill-afford to lose.

Donald Trump has also likely civil and committed criminal violations related to his business for which he could stand trial. Michael Cohen, in testimony before Congress, outlined various instances of illegal business  activity during his decade of employment in the Trump organization.  Trump’s tax returns are a key piece of evidence in the prosecution of several ongoing cases.  The battle between Trump and the Manhattan DA’s office over his taxes has dragged on for years. A landmark Supreme Court decision cleared the way for the release of Trump’s taxes and other documents related to his business dealings as a private citizen. Former Trump lawyer,

A charge of solicitation to commit election fraud is a possibility for Trump  in Georgia. As part of his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, Trump enlisted the aid of Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensberger. In an hour long phone call (publicly available), Trump is heard pressuring the state official to ‘’find the 11,780 votes’’ that cost him the Peach State. Per federal statute, it was clearly an attempt to solicit election fraud.

Donald Trump is a scofflaw who has seldom been made to face serious consequences. His post-presidential life threatens to put that streak to the test. The mountain of legal woes he faces would be insurmountable for most, but his considerable resources and influence make him a formidable opponent to all challengers.

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