New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s contempt ruling against Donald Trump is just the latest in a long string of legal entanglements for the former president.
He’s also facing a criminal probe from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which hit a significant roadblock in late February with the departure of the two lead prosecutors on the case.
However Bragg said earlier this month that his investigation is still pressing forward.
Both James’ civil investigation and the criminal probe are looking into whether the Trump Organization used misleading financial statements to obtain loans and secure other deals.
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen accused the company of doing so during a Congressional hearing in February 2019.
Along with the tax fraud investigations, the House Select Committee Investigating the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol is conducting a probe into last year’s insurrection — which is getting closer and closer to ensnaring the former president.
Here’s a look at the former president’s most recent legal battles:
Alvin Bragg’s criminal investigation ‘continues,’ Manhattan DA’s office says
Manhattan’s new district attorney has been under mounting pressure to give an update in his criminal probe into the Trump Organization, which appeared to have sputtered to a halt as recently as late February.
In an early April statement shortly after James’ filing, however, Bragg vowed his office is ‘investigating thoroughly and following the facts without fear or favor.’
He did not give any new details, and declined to discuss ‘investigative steps’ and ‘grand jury matters’ but said he would make public if and when the investigation ended.
‘In short, as we have previously said, the investigation continues,’ he said.
Capitol riot committee may want to speak with Trump
The Chairman of the House Capitol riot committee told reporters on Thursday: ‘We’ll be talking about the likelihood of a Trump interview in the not too distant future.’
The Democrat-led panel had for months been vague about if or when it intends to speak with the former president himself, as more and more members of his inner circle are caught up in the vast and fast-moving investigation.
Trump himself left the door open to cooperating with the committee. In an interview with the Washington Post published hours before Thompson’s comments, the former president said he’d decide based on ‘what the request is.’
Thompson called that answer ‘interesting’ on Thursday.
Biden Justice Department ‘planning to investigate’ White House documents Trump took to Mar-a-Lago
The House Oversight Committee has accused President Joe Biden’s Justice Department (DOJ) of ‘interfering’ with her panel’s investigation of potential record-keeping abuses by the Trump White House.
The DOJ is ‘taking steps’ to investigate the former president’s transfer of records — some of which were supposedly top secret — from the White House to his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
In February, the National Archives said it had to retrieve 15 boxes of presidential records from the West Palm Beach estate in the month prior.
The Archives had said at the time the records should have been turned over at the end of the Trump administration for preservation.
It came after the agency claimed Trump tore up several documents during his administration that were meant to be kept in tact.
The Post’s Thursday report noted that a potential investigation on the horizon could be why the DOJ is keeping the contents of those boxes from Congress.
Bill Clinton-appointed judge deals a blow to Trump’s lawsuit against Hillary
Reporting by Rob Crilly
A federal judge on Thursday refused Donald Trump’s request to stand aside from handling his lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, saying there was no legitimate reason why his appointment by President Bill Clinton should disqualify him.
In a strongly worded five-page ruling, Judge Donald Middlebrooks said he had never met the Clintons and hinted that Trump was ‘judge-shopping.’
‘Every federal judge is appointed by a president who is affiliated with a major political party, and, therefore, every federal judge could theoretically be viewed as beholden, to some extent or another,’ he wrote.
Trump last month filed a suit against Clinton and a slew of other Democrats, accusing them of trying to spread smears about him during the 2016 campaign.
The case was assigned to Middlebrooks, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1997 to the Southern District of the Florida federal court.
In his Thursday ruling, he said all judges – by virtue of their appointment could be considered to have political backgrounds – but without any evidence to the contrary should be considered impartial.
Ivanka Trump grilled by Democrat-led January 6 panel
The closest member of Donald Trump’s orbit to sit down with the Capitol riot committee is his oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, who also served as a senior adviser during his administration.
Ivanka was grilled by the panel via remote video link for a staggering eight hours, ending around 6 p.m.
Her husband Jared Kushner, also a former high-ranking Trump administration aide, spoke to the committee in March.
Little is known of the details of her testimony though Chairman Thompson said she was ‘answering questions.’
She reportedly did not invoke the Fifth Amendment or any other claim to silence according to the New York Times, though her father told the Washington Post on Thursday that he had offered to shield her with an unspecified ‘privilege.’
He called her interview ‘harassment’ and a ‘shame.’
The committee previously said it has ‘firsthand testimony’ that Ivanka personally appealed to her father to stop the violence on January 6.
Kushner’s interview was described as ‘helpful’ and Trump’s son-in-law was said to be ‘friendly’ and ‘cooperative’ with the committee, NPR reported.
Federal judge says Trump ‘more likely than not’ broke the law on Jan. 6
U.S. District Court Judge David Carter of California said last month that Trump likely attempted to obstruct a Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021. Lawmakers had gathered to certify Biden’s electoral victory were interrupted by the former president’s supporters storming the Capitol.
The opinion, which marks the first time a judge suggested Trump was directly involved in the insurrection, was part of an ongoing legal battle waged by pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman.
Eastman wrote a now-infamous memo detailing a legal theory on how then-Vice President Mike Pence could have unilaterally overturned the election.
The lawyer had sued to block the Jan. 6th committee from obtaining a vast tranche of documents, including emails between himself and Trump about the 2020 election.
Carter ruled that 101 sensitive emails should be turned over to the committee, while allowing 10 to remain privileged.
‘The illegality of the plan was obvious. Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections,’ Carter’s opinion stated of Eastman’s legal theories.
‘With a plan this “BOLD,” President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle. Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.’
Trump loses bid to counter-sue rape accuser E. Jean Carroll
The former president unsuccessfully tried to seek financial damages from writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of raping her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s.
Manhattan federal court Judge Lewis Kaplan said on March 11 that Trump’s argument was made in ‘bad faith’ in a bid to delay Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him.
Carroll sued Trump in November 2019 when he dismissed her graphic and disturbing allegations as financial and politically-motivated lies.
It comes after the Biden Justice Department said last June it would continue to stand in for Trump in Carroll’s lawsuit, not because of the facts of the case but because of the legal basis presented by the ex-president’s office when he denied her accusations.
Kaplan had previously ruled in 2020 that Trump must remain a defendant in the case. Trump’s DOJ appealed the decision in November of that year, weeks after he lost the election.
Top prosecutors step down from Manhattan’s Trump Organization probe
Bragg’s criminal probe of Trump faced a massive public reckoning when two prosecutors leading the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal tax fraud investigation into Donald Trump and his family business abruptly resigned in late February.
Attorneys Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz stepped down from the case after the new Manhattan District Attorney expressed doubts over moving forward with a case against Trump, the New York Times reported.
Sources close to the investigation said it had ground to a month-long halt in the middle of prosecutors’ presentation of evidence to a grand jury.
At the time of reporting, Bragg’s team had also reportedly not questioned any witnesses for more than a month, after postponing a plan to grill at least one person absent the DA’s go-ahead.
The sudden shake-up threatened to derail the investigation, which was started by former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in 2018.
Meanwhile, the grand jury convened to help look into the Trump real estate empire’s term expires this month.
Supreme Court refuses Trump’s request to block documents
The Supreme Court earlier this year dealt a blow to the ex-president’s fight to keep his records away from the Democrat-led Capitol riot committee.
Trump had challenged a DC Circuit Court opinion ordering the National Archives to turn the documents over, after the Biden administration already said it would not stand in the way.
The high court noted the DC Circuit’s statement pointing out that Trump would have lost the case even if he were still in office.
‘The questions whether and in what circumstances a former President may obtain a court order preventing disclosure of privileged records from his tenure in office, in the face of a determination by the incumbent President to waive the privilege, are unprecedented and raise serious and substantial concerns,’ the Supreme Court’s majority opinion read.
Only Justice Clarence Thomas, husband to conservative activist and Trump supporter Virginia Thomas, voted to overturn the lower court’s ruling. He did not explain why.
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