Citizen Trump now faces mounting legal woes - GulfToday

Citizen Trump now faces mounting legal woes


Donald Trump

Jan Wolfe and Tom Hals, Reuters

The Trump Organisation’s chief financial officer and Donald Trump’s namesake company were charged on Thursday as part of an investigation that has hovered over the former US president for years.

The company and Allen Weisselberg, a longtime Trump business lieutenant who helped run the organisation during his presidency, entered pleas of not guilty.

The following are some of the investigations and lawsuits facing Trump:

The indictment unsealed on Thursday focused on perks and benefits such as rent-free apartments and leased cars provided to Weisselberg and other officials without proper reporting on tax returns.

Weisselberg received $1.76 million in indirect compensation including school tuition for family, prosecutors said. The benefits were not disclosed as income to tax authorities and Weisselberg concealed his residency in New York City, evading about $900,000 in state, federal and local taxes.

The indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr could imperil the company by discouraging lenders and investors from doing business with it. The company would likely be fined and incur other penalties if found guilty.

The district attorney could still charge Trump, especially if Weisselberg cooperates with prosecutors and testifies against the businessman-turned-Republican politician.

Trump has said the investigation is politically motivated.

New York attorney general civil probe:

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is examining whether the Trump Organisation inflated the values of some properties to obtain better loans and lowered their values to obtain property tax breaks.

Court records show James is investigating how the company and its agents assessed the value of Seven Springs, a 212-acre estate north of Manhattan that Trump purchased in 1995.

Trump’s company has said the century-old, 50,000-square-foot mansion on the grounds was used as a Trump family retreat, although the property became a vehicle for a tax break.

Georgia election tampering probe: Prosecutors in Georgia’s biggest county have opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s attempts to influence the state’s results in the November 2020 presidential election that was won by Democrat Joe Biden.

The investigation is being led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and focuses in part on a phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, on Jan. 2.

Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to overturn Trump’s election loss, according to an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post.

Legal experts said Trump’s phone calls may have violated at least three Georgia criminal election laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, and intentional interference with performance of election duties.

Trump, however, could argue he was engaging in free speech and did not intend to influence the election.

Defamation case: E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine writer, sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after the president denied her allegation that he raped her in the 1990s in a New York department store and accused her of lying to drum up sales for a book.

In August 2020, a state judge allowed the case to go forward, meaning Carroll’s lawyers could seek a DNA sample from Trump to match against a dress she said she wore at the store.

The US Department of Justice under the new Biden administration made a surprise decision in June to continue defending Trump in the case, arguing it wanted to shield the presidency, not Trump personally.

Attack on US Capitol: Trump has been named as a defendant in lawsuits over the storming of the US Capitol building by his supporters in a bid to disrupt the certification by Congress of Biden’s election to the White House.

Trump has denied responsibility for the rioting in Washington, where he had urged his followers to march on the Capitol.

Two Democratic lawmakers, Representatives Eric Swalwell of California and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, separately sued Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani for conspiring to incite an insurrection.

Thompson was appointed on Thursday to lead a US House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. The panel has subpoena powers and could examine Trump’s activities the day of the riot.

Two Capitol Police officers sued Trump for physical and emotional injuries sustained in the attack and accused him of encouraging followers to stop the certification of Biden’s election victory.

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