Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination race, faces four criminal indictments that appear poised to complicate the former United States president’s re-election campaign.
Trump surrendered to authorities in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 24 to face criminal charges over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and was swiftly released on a $200,000 bond.
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He became the first former president to have his mugshot taken during his arrest in Georgia, where prosecutors have accused him and 18 others of joining a conspiracy to “unlawfully change the outcome” of the 2020 vote in the state.
It is the second indictment accusing Trump of election interference and the fourth set of criminal charges against him so far this year.
Trump pleaded not guilty earlier in August to federal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election that he lost to President Joe Biden – and which he continues to falsely claim was the result of widespread fraud.
In March, officials in New York also indicted him for falsifying business documents in connection to hush-money payments made to an adult-film star.
In June, Trump became the first current or former US president to face federal charges when prosecutors unveiled an indictment against him over allegations he mishandled secret government documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2023
The cases have come as Trump holds a substantial lead in a crowded Republican 2024 presidential race. Under the US Constitution, Trump can still run, and assume office if he wins, even if convicted.
He has characterised the indictments against him as part of a political “witch hunt” and has denied any wrongdoing.
Here’s where things stand in the criminal cases:
2020 election interference – Federal case
Trump has been charged with four federal felonies in connection to his high-profile efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
The sweeping indictment unsealed on August 1 recaps a months-long misinformation campaign by Trump, in which the former president pushed fraud claims that prosecutors say he knew to be untrue.
Trump also pressured state and federal officials to intervene in the election certification process, including his Vice President Mike Pence, authorities said.
The pressure campaign, which continued even as pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, amounted to an attempt to obstruct “a bedrock function”, according to the indictment.
Trump is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the US; one count of conspiracy against rights; one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and one count of obstructing an official proceeding.
The former president pleaded not guilty to the charges during a brief arraignment hearing in federal court in Washington, DC on August 3. He later dismissed the case as being part of a political campaign seeking to derail his re-election campaign.
On August 28, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, set March 4, 2024 as the start date for the trial. Trump said he plans to appeal.
Classified documents – Federal case
In June, Trump was indicted in a separate federal case related to his handling of sensitive documents that he took from the White House at the end of his presidency.
The former president was initially charged with 37 felony counts, the majority of which were for unauthorised retention of national security secrets. He was also charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators.
The indictment detailed how Trump showed off the classified documents to visitors, storing many in easily accessible areas of his Mar-a-Lago estate. As federal investigators closed in, the charging document said, Trump enlisted aides to help hide the documents.
“Our laws that protect national defence information are critical to the safety and security of the United States, and they must be enforced,” special counsel Jack Smith, who also oversees the federal election case, said upon unsealing the secret documents indictment.
“Violations of those laws put our country at risk,” Smith said.
On July 27, federal prosecutors announced three more charges against Trump. His aide and a property manager at Mar-a-Lago have also been charged in the case.
Trump pleaded not guilty to the initial charges during his first appearance at a court in Miami, Florida, in June. On August 4, he pleaded not guilty to the additional charges in a court filing. A federal judge has set the trial date for May 20, 2024.
Falsifying business documents – New York state case
Trump’s first criminal indictment came in the US state of New York in March, when he was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in an investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
The counts are linked to a series of checks written to Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen as reimbursements for hush-money payments made to pornographic movie star Stormy Daniels, who alleged a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
The payments were recorded in various internal company documents as being for a legal retainer that prosecutors said did not exist.
On December 4, the former president is set to make his next appearance at a Manhattan court where he had earlier entered a not-guilty plea to the charges.
The date comes two months before the Republican presidential primary season begins in full.
2020 election interference – Georgia state case
After investigating Trump for more than two-and-a-half years, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis levelled charges against the former president and 18 other co-defendants, who prosecutors say conspired to overturn the election results in the state.
Trump and his allies were charged under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, also known as RICO, which is often reserved for prosecuting organised crime.
The probe was sparked by a January 2, 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a top election official. In the call, Trump, who was trailing in the state’s final vote count, suggested Raffensperger could “find 11,780 votes” to flip the state in his favour.
One of the charges Trump is facing directly relates to that conversation. The indictment says the former president “unlawfully solicited, requested and importuned” Raffensperger to violate his oath of office.
The indictment also accuses Trump and his co-defendants of pushing to illegally breach voting equipment. “In Georgia, members of the enterprise stole data, including ballot images, voting equipment software and personal voter information,” it said.
Trump, who has denied wrongdoing, surrendered at the Fulton County Jail on August 24 to be booked as a suspect in the case, becoming the first former president in US history to have his mugshot taken.
A week later, on August 31, he entered a not-guilty plea in a court filing. The move averts a formal arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for September 6 in Atlanta.
The filing, which was signed by Trump, read: “As evidenced by my signature below, I do hereby waive formal arraignment and enter my plea of NOT GUILTY to the indictment in this case.”
This article was last updated on August 31, 2023.