The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

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February 20, 2024

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An Overview of Trump’s Legal Battles

A breakdown of his Indictments

March 29, 2022, marked the first time a president, former or current, was charged in a criminal case. Three additional indictments would eventually be brought against Donald Trump. 

The first case brought against Trump is a criminal case in Manhattan. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, outed Trump in 2018 for arranging hush-money payments during his 2016 campaign for president. Cohen bribed Stormy Daniels with $130,000 to keep quiet about their encounters. Daniels’ lawyer threatened to back out of the agreement as Cohen spent too long scavenging for money. Cohen quickly drew money from his home equity line and sent it via an outside source to Daniels. Trump paid Cohen back $420,000 for the initial bribe and to strengthen Trump’s polling. These payments were all declared legal expenses, which is illegal in New York. In this indictment, 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree were brought against Trump, a low-class felony in New York City. In 2018, Cohen was charged with three years in jail and outed Trump as well. That opened up the doors to the grand jury investigation. After gathering two months of evidence against Trump, he was officially arrested. This trial is set for February 2024.

The second case brought against Trump was the classified documents case. This case was filed in Florida on June 8, 2022. Forty counts were brought against Trump: 32 counts related to the unauthorized retention of national security secrets, seven counts related to obstructing the investigation, and three counts of false statements. This case involves the mishandling of classified documents that were in Trump’s possession at his Mar-a-Lago home. In total, 102 classified documents were found in Trump’s office and a storage room. Documents were also stored in a bathroom and ballroom, each of which guests had access to. Trump acknowledged that he had the documents in his possession that were classified. This indictment included 32 violations of the Espionage Act and two other laws that could each lead to 20 years in prison. As of Dec 5, 2023, the trial is set for April 2024. 

The third indictment filed against Trump involved the Jan. 6 insurrection. On Jan. 6, 2021, both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate came together, intending to verify the votes for the presidency. More than 2,000 individuals stormed the capitol building in Washington D.C. during this process, breaking windows, assaulting police officers, and trespassing into individual offices and the chambers. After much investigation, Trump was ultimately found to have been involved in the conspiracy behind this disruption by making efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Currently, in this indictment, Trump is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate rights, one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, one count of obstructing an official proceeding, and one count of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding. This also involved the fake elector scheme, in which Trump allegedly attempted to hack voting machines, harassed local officials to “find” his votes, attempted to convince DOJ officials to change the vote, and tried to coordinate fake electors across seven states. His trial is currently set for March 2024, and he is eligible for up to 20 years in prison.

The final case against Trump involved the Election Inquiry in Georgia. This case is under Georgia state law, so it is not a federal case. Trump narrowly lost the Georgia Electoral vote to Biden, which Trump claimed he won on Twitter. There are 41 total charges in this indictment, 13 of which are against Trump, and the rest are divided among 18 other defendants. The charges brought against Trump include three counts of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, two counts of false statements and writings, one count of violation of the Georgia RICO Act, one count of conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, one count of conspiracy to commit filing false documents, and one count of filing false documents. Trump denies all of these charges. Currently, Trump’s team, led by the Fulton County judge, is debating the Aug. 5, 2024, trial date. If Trump were to become president again, he would be unable to pardon himself and would be eligible for 20 years in prison.

Although Trump would not be the first person to run for the presidency with felony convictions, a lot of the hypotheticals involving Trump are unknown right now, including what would happen if he were to be in jail at the time of his potential presidency. There is no current law however that states you can not be president from a prison cell. 


This information is gathered from The New York Times, CNN, and the official indictments. 



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Zoe Knott, Reporter
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