- Trump and his businesses are tangled in an array of state and federal investigations and lawsuits.
- In his most serious case, Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in New York.
It's hard to keep track of Donald Trump's very busy legal docket.
In his most serious case, the ex-president — who has officially launched his 2024 presidential bid — stands charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, making him the first former White House occupant to face criminal charges.
Beyond that, Trump is the subject of at least four major investigations, relating to his handling of White House documents, the election, the insurrection, and his finances.
A state prosecutor in Georgia is weighing if Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election results in that state. The Justice Department is also looking into the 2020 election as well as Trump's possible mishandling of classified documents.
Meanwhile, Trump may face a second defamation trial brought by E. Jean Carroll — the magazine writer who won a trial against Trump for sexual battery and defamation in April.
And he faces a grab-bag of additional lawsuits that could financially harm him and his international real estate and golf resort empire.
Keep up to date on the latest of Trump's legal travails with this guide to the ever-evolving Trump docket.
The Manhattan DA's indictment over the hush-money settlement to Stormy Daniels
The parties: District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg and Donald Trump.
The issues: Bragg's office has been investigating whether Trump violated campaign finance laws in connection to hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. A grand jury voted to bring criminal charges against Trump in the case.
Michael Cohen, Trump's former fixer and personal lawyer, is a key witness. He has testified under oath that he made the payments to Daniels at Trump's direction, and pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance violations in connection with the payments in 2018.
What's next: Trump was arrested in Manhattan criminal court on April 4 and was arraigned. He is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.
Prosecutors are asking for a January 2024 trial.
The Trump Organization Payroll Case
The Parties: The Trump Organization was found guilty of 17 tax fraud counts on December 6, 2022 in a speedy, slam-dunk conviction in New York state court.
The Issues: A four-woman, eight-man, mostly working-class jury held Trump's real estate and golf resort business criminally liable for a 2005-2018 tax-dodge scheme admittedly run by the company's two top financial executives.
The two, former CFO Allen Weisselberg and top payroll executive Jeffrey McConney, helped themselves and a half-dozen other company execs cheat on their income taxes by paying them in part with pricey perks and benefits — including free use of luxury cars and apartments — that were never reported to tax authorities.
What's next: Potential repercussions include a heightened hesitancy among banks to lend to a company with felony status and an energized Trump probe in the Manhattan district attorney's office. Government corruption watchdogs also have renewed reason to urge the federal government to cease doing business with the former president.
The Fulton County election interference probe
The parties: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Trump, and his Republican associates
The issues: Willis is investigating whether Trump and his associates tried to interfere in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Her probe has expanded to also include investigating an alleged scheme to send a fake slate of electors to Georgia's state Capitol in an attempt to overturn the elections.
What's next: Willis will now decide whether to refer the report to an ordinary grand jury to bring criminal charges.
The Justice Department's investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election
The parties: Federal investigators are scrutinizing the role Trump and his allies played in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.
The issues: The Justice Department is facing pressure to prosecute following a string of congressional hearings that connected the former president to the violence of January 6, 2021, and to efforts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
In December, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol recommended four charges be brought against Trump: conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to make false statements obstruction of an official proceeding, and inciting an insurrection.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as a special counsel to take over the probe. Smith's prosecutors have subpoenaed Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and former vice president Mike Pence.
What's next: The Justice Department has remained largely silent about how and whether it will consider charges against Trump.
The Justice Department's investigation into the handling of classified documents
The parties: The FBI searched Trump's estate in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago, on August 8 as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of government records, including classified documents. Trump and his lawyers alleged prosecutorial misconduct and condemned the search as politically motivated.
The issues: Early in 2022, Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents — including some marked as classified and "top secret" — to the National Archives. But federal investigators scrutinizing the former president's handling of records reportedly grew suspicious that Trump or people close to him still retained some key records. The FBI seized about a dozen boxes of additional documents during the raid of Mar-a-Lago, in a search that immediately demonstrated how Trump's handling of records from his administration remains an area of legal jeopardy.
The investigation for the Mar-a-Lago case and the January 6 case are both being overseen by special prosecutor Jack Smith, whom US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed in November.
What's next: Smith has remained tight-lipped about the investigation's next moves, though reports suggest charging decisions could come as soon as this summer.
Lawsuits against Trump
The NY AG's civil filing against the Trump family and Trump Organization
The parties: New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued Trump, his family, and the Trump Organization.
The issues: James says she has uncovered a decade-long pattern of financial wrongdoing at Trump's multi-billion-dollar real-estate and golf resort empire.
She alleges Trump inflated the values of his properties by billions of dollars in financial filings used to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans. She also alleges he low-balled his properties' worth for tax breaks. Trump has derided the AG's efforts as a politically motivated witch hunt.
The 220-page lawsuit arose from a three-year investigation and seeks multiple, corporation-crippling demands that will be decided by a Manhattan judge in October.
James wants the company to pay back the $250 million Trump allegedly pocketed through misleading banks. She also seeks to ban Trump and his three eldest children — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, who have all served as Trump Organization executives — from ever running a company in New York state again.
Perhaps most extremely, her lawsuit seeks to pull the Trump Organization's New York papers of incorporation. That charter lets Trump draw revenue from his New York properties, including the lucrative commercial rents at his Manhattan skyscrapers.
These measures would run Trump's corporate headquarters out of New York and could put the Trump Organization out of business entirely.
What's next: New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has warned Trump's side that the trial will start on time — on Monday, October 2, 2023 — "come hell or high water."
Lawsuits alleging 'incitement' on January 6
The Parties: House Democrats and two Capitol police officers accused Trump of inciting the violent mob on January 6.
The Issues: Trump's lawyers have argued that his time as president grants him immunity that shields him from civil liability in connection with his January 6 address at the Ellipse, where he urged supporters to "fight like hell."
A federal judge rejected Trump's bid to dismiss the civil lawsuits, ruling that his rhetoric on January 6 was "akin to telling an excited mob that corn-dealers starve the poor in front of the corn-dealer's home."
US District Judge Amit Mehta said Trump later displayed a tacit agreement with the mob minutes after rioters breached the Capitol when he sent a tweet admonishing then-Vice President Mike Pence for lacking the "courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country."
What's Next: Trump has appealed Mehta's ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. His lawyers have argued that the immunity afforded to the former president cannot be "undercut if the presidential act in question is unpopular among the judiciary." The Justice Department says Trump's actions aren't covered by presidential immunity. The appeals court heard oral arguments in December but hasn't yet issued a decision.
E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation case against Trump
The Parties: Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing Trump for defamation, battery, and emotional distress in federal court in Manhattan.
The Issues: Carroll filed two lawsuits against Trump.
Both lawsuits allege Trump defamed her after she publicly accused him of raping her in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-90s. Trump responded to Carroll's rape claim by saying it was untrue and that she was "not my type." Trump also denied ever meeting Carroll, despite a photo to the contrary.
The first lawsuit was filed in 2019, while Trump was in office, and has been tangled up over legal questions of whether Trump disparaged Carroll as part of his presidential duties, which would make him immune to the lawsuit.
After Trump made more disparaging remarks about Carroll last fall, she filed a second defamation lawsuit against him. That lawsuit also included a rape allegation following the passage of a New York law that gave sexual assault accusers a new window to file civil cases regardless of when the alleged incident occurred.
The second lawsuit went to trial in April. A jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation and awarded Carroll $5 million.
What's next: After Trump lost the trial, he repeated the same insults against Carroll. Carroll added new defamation claims to her first lawsuit. Her lawyers have asked a judge to schedule a trial for that case, now that appeals courts have finished weighing questions of presidential immunity.
The 'multi-level marketing' pyramid scheme case
The Parties: Lead plaintiff Catherine McKoy and three others sued Trump, his business, and his three eldest children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, in 2018 in federal court in Manhattan.
The Issues: Donald Trump is accused of promoting a scam multi-level marketing scheme on "The Celebrity Apprentice." The lawsuit alleges Trump pocketed $8.8 million from the scheme — but that they lost thousands of dollars. Trump's side has complained that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack.
What's Next: The case is scheduled to go to trial in January 2024.
Michael Cohen's legal fees
The Parties: Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen sued Donald Trump in state court in Manhattan way back in 2019.
The Issues: Cohen racked up a lot of bills during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, testifying to Congress, the New York Attorney General's investigation into the Trump Organization's finances, and more.
He got involved in all of those things, he says, because of his former role as an executive at the Trump Organization. Trump owes him $2.3 million to cover it all.
What's Next: The case has survived multiple appeals and is now scheduled to go to trial on July 24 of this year.
Michael Cohen's 'imprisonment' case
The Parties: Michael Cohen sued Donald Trump, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and more than a dozen federal prison officials and employees, in federal court in Manhattan in 2021.
The Issues: The president's former personal attorney is seeking $20 million in damages relating to the time he spent in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress about Trump's dealings in Congress.
Cohen claimed he had been moved to home confinement for three months in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic but was then vindictively thrown into solitary confinement when he refused to stop speaking to the press and writing a tell-all book about his former boss. A judge ordered him released after 16 days.
What's Next: The case was dismissed in November, but Cohen filed an appeal.
The Electric Avenue copyright case
The Parties: Eddy Grant, the composer/performer behind the 80s disco-reggae mega-hit "Electric Avenue," sued Donald Trump and his campaign in federal court in Manhattan in 2020.
The Issues: Grant is seeking $300,000 for copyright infringement. He claims Trump made unauthorized use of the 1983 dance floor staple during the 2020 campaign. About 40 seconds of the song played in the background of a Biden-bashing animation that Trump posted to his Twitter account. The animation was viewed 13 million times before being taken down a month later.
Trump has countered that the animation was political satire and so is exempt from copyright infringement claims. He's also said that the campaign merely reposted the animation and that he has no idea where it came from.
Trump was deposed last year, but it's unclear where or when exactly. Lawyers for Trump and Grant have agreed to a strict gag order in the case and have repeatedly declined to comment.
What's Next: The case is slowly winding its way toward trial; an April 24 deadline has been set for the sides to exchange evidence.
Lawsuits brought by Trump
Donald Trump v. Mary Trump and the New York Times
The Parties: The former president counter-sued his niece Mary Trump — and the New York Times — in 2021 in New York state court.
The Issues: Mary Trump, the Times, and three of its reporters "maliciously conspired" against him, Trump alleged, by collaborating with the Times on its expose of and breaching the confidentiality of the family's 2001 settlement of the estate of Mary Trump's father, Fred Trump Sr.
What's Next: A judge tossed the claims against the New York Times and its reporters but hasn't yet ruled on Mary Trump's motion to dismiss the case.
Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton
The Parties: Trump sued Hillary Clinton, her campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and prominent Democrats including former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a federal court in southern Florida in March 2022.
The Issues: Trump alleged that Clinton and her campaign staff conspired to harm his 2016 run for president by promoting a "contrived Trump-Russia link."
A judge tossed the massive lawsuit in September, calling it "a two-hundred-page political manifesto" in which Trump detailed "his grievances against those that have opposed him." He ordered Trump and his attorney to pay nearly $1 million in sanctions in January.
What's Next: Trump promised to appeal the dismissal, but it's unlikely he'll be successful given the sanctions he's faced in this case.
Camila DeChalus and C. Ryan Barber contributed to a previous version of this story.