Former President Trump’s Criminal Court Cases: Taking Stock

Elections & Politics Policy Brief #127 | By: Courtney Denning | April 09, 2024
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Former President and current expected Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, is the defendant in multiple civil and criminal court cases across the country. This is the first time that a former US president has been charged with a criminal offense.

These trials have received ongoing national attention. Here is an overview of the current state of each case:

New York Civil Court Case

On Feb. 16, 2024 a judge ruled that Trump must pay a $454 million penalty for lying on financial statements, claiming that he was more wealthy than he was in order to make loans and deals. Trump appealed the case, claiming that the judge committed errors and acted outside of his jurisdiction. That appeal hearing is expected to take place in September, during the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

As a condition for allowing the appeal, Trump was required to put up $175 million in bail money in order to stop the state from seizing his assets. Trump paid this on April 1. However, the state’s Attorney General has requested that this bond be “justified,” and has asked Trump to prove that he has the money and assets required to pay it.

Judge in the case: Arthur Engoron
Current trial date: Unscheduled, expected Sept. 2024
Amount of Trump delay time requested and granted, to date: Appeal will delay the potential penalty by 6 months, granted
Key legal issue decided: Did Trump lie on his financial records? Did Judge Engoron handle the trial properly?
Penalty: $363.9 million plus interest, totaling $454 million at the time of the initial ruling
Odds of conviction: Currently found liable, pending appeal

New York Criminal Court Case

Trump was indicted on March 30, 2023 for allegedly falsifying business records in order to pay hush money to two women whom he reportedly had extramarital affairs with. Prosecution claims this happened in 2016 as a way to protect Trump’s public image during his run for presidency.

Throughout the course of the trial, Trump’s lawyers have used what many consider to be stalling tactics, including calling for the case to be moved from a state court to a federal one. Trump’s lawyers also asked that the judge presiding over the case be replaced due to suspicion of bias. Both of these requests were denied.

However, on March 15, Trump’s lawyers asked for the trial to be postponed due to an influx of new evidence, which was granted.

As part of his efforts to undermine the charges against him, Trump repeatedly criticized people involved in the case, causing the judge to issue a gag order on him on March 26. This order was expanded on April 1 to also include the families of those involved in the case following a statement made by Trump about the judge’s daughter on his social media site, Truth Social.

Trump requested that the trial be postponed until after the Supreme Court hears his arguments for presidential immunity on April 25. However, the judge rejected this  request and is scheduled to begin hearing the case on April 15.

Judge in the case: Juan M. Merchan
Current trial date: April 15
Amount of delay time requested by and granted to Trump, to date: Requested 21 days, granted
Key legal issue to be decided: Did Trump falsify business records in order to bury allegations of extramarital affairs?
Potential penalty: Maximum sentence of four years in prison
Odds of conviction:

DC Criminal Court Case

In August, Trump was charged with election interference for his alleged involvement in the January 6 Capital riot. Prosecutors claim that he intentionally disseminated lies about the “stolen election” and attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Much like the New York criminal case, the judge in this trial issued a gag order on Trump to prevent him from making disparaging public comments about people involved in the trial. Trump has also claimed that as a former president, he is immune from trial. These claims were dismissed by both the presiding judge and the appeals court, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over whether Trump is entitled to immunity on the week of April 22.

Judge in the case: Tanya Chutkan
Current trial date: Unscheduled, awaiting immunity decision
Amount of delay time requested by and granted to Trump, to date: Requested indefinite delay, 36 days granted thus far
Key legal issue to be decided: Did Trump interfere in a federal election?
Potential penalty: Maximum sentence of 20 years in prison
Odds of conviction:

Georgia Criminal Court Case

Trump has also been charged with election interference in Georgia over claims that he meddled in the process of choosing electors and harassed election workers. Some of these charges were filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act while the rest are other assorted conspiracy charges. The charges were filed on Aug. 14 and Trump’s mugshot was released as a result of this case the following week.

Four of Trump’s associates who were also indicted in this trial have pleaded guilty to the charges, reaching a plea deal. In January, reports of an inappropriate romantic relationship involving the District Attorney caused a special prosecutor to eventually step down from his position in March. During this conflict, three of Trump’s charges were dropped, but the District Attorney was allowed to continue in her prosecution of the case. Trump has asked the court of appeals to review this decision, claiming that this inappropriate romantic relationship still presented a conflict of interest even after one party dismissed himself.

Judge in the case: Scott McAfee
Current trial date: Unscheduled
Amount of delay time requested by and granted to Trump, to date: Requested indefinite delay, granted thus far
Key legal issue to be decided: Did Trump interfere in Georgia’s presidential election?
Potential penalty: Maximum sentence of 20 years in prison
Odds of conviction:

Florida Criminal Court Case

The last case against Trump is the claim that he was harboring classified documents at his estate in Mar-a-Lago. These charges were filed in June and additional accounts of conspiring to cover up this alleged crime were filed in July.

The hearings for this case are scheduled for May 20, but delays are expected according to the presiding judge. There has been some controversy over the jury because the case is scheduled to pull from a pool of jurors that reside in a county that heavily favored Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Judge in the case: Aileen Cannon
Current trial date: May 20
Amount of delay time requested by and granted to Trump, to date: None requested thus far
Key legal issue to be decided: Did Trump keep classified documents at his private estate and attempt to hide his possession of them?
Potential penalty: Maximum sentence of 10 years in prison per count
Odds of conviction: Likelihood of Trump serving the full sentence is low, even if he is found guilty of all 30 charges


Because these cases are being heard during a presidential election season, their results have the potential to significantly affect the outcome of the 2024 presidential election. The numerous appeals and postponings in each of these trials is likely part of an effort by Trump to delay the verdicts, buying him more time to secure the presidency and pardon himself if he reaches office again. And while political motives should not interfere with criminal court case proceedings, reasonable concerns over the trials must be considered by the judicial branch in order to maintain their credibility. Reaching a verdict in each trial must come quickly but cannot come at the expense of due diligence.

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