Trump faces escalating legal troubles

Trump faces escalating legal troubles

The depth and breadth of the looming legal troubles facing former President Trump are on full display this week after a rapid series of developments in various cases.

In the past few days alone, one of Trump’s top lawyers has left, citing internal friction, the special counsel has stepped up his investigation into the former president’s conduct, and writer E. Jean Carroll has demanded more. in damages after Trump mocked his sexual assault allegations at a CNN Town Hall.

Meanwhile, a New York judge called a hearing on Tuesday to reiterate to Trump that rules surrounding his secret prosecution prohibit him from using evidence in the case to attack witnesses.

The specter of legal troubles is not new for Trump. Jack Smith, a Justice Department special counsel, is investigating his handling of classified information and his efforts to stay in power after the 2020 election. A Georgia prosecutor is investigating attempts to nullify Georgia’s election results. Status in 2020.

Trump was indicted earlier this year on charges related to an alleged secret money scheme to keep a case quiet during the 2016 campaign, and he was recently found guilty of defamation and sexual abuse of Carroll.

But the latest developments come as the 2024 GOP primary field takes shape, with Trump’s main rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), set to enter the race this week, just days after the senator’s jump Tim Scott (RS.C.) in the contest on Monday.

The steady stream of news began in recent days when Timothy Parlatore, one of Trump’s attorneys handling the documents case, resigned and went public with some of his concerns about the influence of some within Trump’s inner circle. the former president.

“It had nothing to do with the case itself or the client,” Parlatore told CNN’s Paula Reid.

“The real reason is that there are certain people who have made the defense of the president much more difficult than necessary. In particular, there is an individual who works for him, Boris Epshteyn, who had really done everything to try to block – to prevent us from doing what we could to defend the president.

Parlatore said Epshteyn “served as a kind of filter to stop us from passing information to the client. … In my opinion, he wasn’t very honest with us or the client about some things.

This includes major events in the case, including subsequent searches of Trump’s properties to ensure there were no classified documents remaining at the scene.

“There were certain things, like house searches, that he tried to interfere with,” Parlatore said.

Smith’s case against Trump, particularly on the Mar-a-Lago front, appears to be accelerating.

Parlatore told The Hill last week that Smith appeared to be completing his presentation to the assembled grand jury in the case.

“I think they’re pretty much done with all the grand jury witnesses at this point. And move on to the report writing phase,” he said.

“I think they’re going to spend the next month writing a report of several hundred pages…and presenting it to (Attorney General Merrick Garland) in early June.”

The investigation has widened to also include some of the Trump Organization’s business dealings while the former president was still in office.

Smith issued a subpoena for records of trade deals former President Trump’s company has struck with seven countries since he took office in 2017: China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has signaled in recent days that charges in her investigation could come in early August. This case centers on a “fake voter” scheme hatched by Trump allies after the 2020 election.

As these investigations unfold, more are expected to follow in the presidential primary season next spring.

Carroll’s lawyers amended a lawsuit on Monday to seek additional damages from Trump after he called her a “crazy job” and mocked her allegation that he raped her during a an encounter in the 1990s. He made the comments during a CNN town hall earlier this month, the day after a jury found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation. The civil case will likely weigh on the former president for months.

A Manhattan judge on Tuesday tentatively set a trial date for Trump’s silent money case for March 2024, which would be in the midst of a primary vote.

Also in that case, Judge Juan Merchan agreed to a request from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) to schedule a hearing on Tuesday examining the limits of how the former president can use the evidence he has access to. during the trial.

Merchan said Trump would remain free to speak on the “vast majority of evidence” but could not directly post evidence on social media or reveal information about witnesses involved in the case. He is also only allowed to examine the evidence in the presence of his lawyers.

Trump blasted the decision on Tuesday.

“I just had a hearing in New York County Supreme Court where I believe my First Amendment rights, ‘free speech,’ were violated, and they imposed a trial date on us on the 25th March, right in the middle of the primary season. Very unfair, but that’s exactly what the radical left democrats wanted. It’s called ELECTORAL INTERFERENCE, and nothing like it has ever happened in our country before!!!” Trump wrote in a post on his social media site.

So far, the myriad controversies have yet to seriously hurt Trump politically in the GOP race.

The former president’s lead in the polls has widened since he was indicted last month in the Hush Money case, and his team of advisers believe he has benefited from CNN’s mayoralty, despite the potential legal implications of his comments about Carroll and the classified documents he had taken. with him in his domain of Mar-a-Lago.

A RealClearPolitics average of recent GOP primary polls shows Trump with a comfortable 37 percentage point lead over DeSantis, who sits in second place in most polls.

“Big polls, but the Communists are after me. I can’t let them succeed. MAGA!” Trump wrote on Truth Social this week.

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