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What to know about Trump's 4 indictments and the criminal charges

Georgia grand jury indicts Trump, 18 allies
Georgia grand jury indicts Trump, 18 allies in election interference case 03:56

As former President Donald Trump pushes forward with his 2024 campaign, incidents from before, during and after his term in office are under intense legal scrutiny. He has now been indicted in four separate criminal cases.

Here's where the investigations, led by two state prosecutors and a federal special counsel, stand:

Indicted: Manhattan "hush money" probe

A New York grand jury investigating the circumstances surrounding a "hush money" payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016 voted to indict Donald Trump on March 30, making him the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges.

He was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, and pleaded not guilty to all charges on April 4. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg defended the decision to charge Trump in a press conference.

"Under New York state law, it is a felony to falsify business records with intent to defraud and intent to conceal another crime," Bragg told reporters. "That is exactly what this case is about: 34 false statements made to cover up other crimes."

The case stems from a payment made just days before Trump was elected president in 2016. His former attorney, Michael Cohen, arranged a wire transfer of $130,000 to Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair. Prosecutors were investigating potential falsification of business records related to reimbursements made to Cohen. Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, and vehemently denied wrongdoing in this case. 

In the weeks before the grand jury decision, a steady stream of former Trump employees and White House staffers were seen entering Bragg's offices, including Trump's former White House counselor and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, former director of strategic communications Hope Hicks, and his former lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen.

Cohen, who went to prison on federal charges related to the $130,000 payment to Daniels, has met repeatedly with prosecutors this year — more than a half-dozen times since mid-January. 

He appeared before the grand jury twice.

In his memoir "Disloyal," Cohen described an intense effort in October 2016 — just before the presidential election — to prevent the actress from speaking publicly about an alleged affair with Trump. Ultimately, Cohen wired the money through a newly created limited liability company, and both Cohen and Daniels have claimed she and Trump signed a non-disclosure agreement using the aliases David Dennison and Peggy Peterson.

Trump, a Republican who is running once again for president, has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing, and lashed out at Bragg, a Democrat, calling the case a "political persecution."

In ruling against an effort by Trump to have the case moved from state to federal jurisdiction Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein addressed Trump's accusation that the indictment was politically motivated.

"Trump argues that a 'politically motivated' district attorney who 'disfavored [Trump's] acts and policies as president' caused the grand jury to indict. Trump fails to show, however, that the grand jury lacked a rational basis for the indictment," Hellerstein wrote.

Hellerstein also faulted another argument made on Trump's behalf, that he is immune from prosecution because the payments were made while he was president.

"Reimbursing Cohen for advancing hush money to Stephanie Clifford cannot be considered the performance of a constitutional duty," Hellerstein wrote. "Falsifying business records to hide such reimbursement, and to transform the reimbursement into a business expense for Trump and income to Cohen, likewise does not relate to a presidential duty."

The case is scheduled to go on trial in March 2024.

Indicted: Special counsel's Mar-a-Lago documents case

Trump became the first former president charged with federal crimes when he was indicted June 8 on 37 felony counts related to alleged "willful retention" of national security information after leaving the White House. He pleaded not guilty.

An aide to Trump, Waltine Nauta, was also charged in the case and has entered a not guilty plea. 

Three additional charges against Trump, and two more charges against Nauta, were filed in a superseding indictment on July 27, when prosecutors also introduced charges against Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira. Trump has pleaded not guilty to those counts as well.

The case was brought by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed in November to oversee two Justice Department's criminal investigations into Trump. 

The indictment accuses Trump of storing boxes containing classified documents "in various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club including in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room." Trump lives at Mar-a-Lago, a private Palm Beach, Florida, country club owned by his company. 

The indictment also alleges conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly concealing a document or record, a "scheme to conceal," and making false statements and representations.

Trump has defended his handling of classified information, and accused Smith of pursuing the case out of political bias, calling Smith a "radical."

The judge in the case, Aileen Cannon, has scheduled the trial for May 2024, which would place it toward the end of the Republican presidential primary season.

Indicted: Special counsel's Jan. 6 investigation

Smith's office has also been investigating alleged efforts to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power after Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden, including the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The grand jury hearing evidence in this case indicted Trump on Aug. 1.

Trump faces four charges in this indictment: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.

The indictment lists six unnamed co-conspirators. Prosecutors allege they were "enlisted" to assist Trump in "his criminal efforts to overturn" the election "and retain power."

"The attack on our nation's Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy," Smith said in a brief remarks after the release of the 45-page indictment outlining the charges. "As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government: the nation's process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election."

Trump has vehemently denied allegations of wrongdoing related to his efforts to overturn the election results, and accused the special counsel of political bias.

"Why didn't they bring this ridiculous case 2.5 years ago? They wanted it right in the middle of my campaign, that's why!" Trump said in a post on his social media site, Truth Social.

Indicted: Election interference case in Fulton County, Georgia

The Fulton County district attorney's investigation into Trump's conduct following the 2020 election began in February 2021 — spurred by an infamous recorded Jan. 2, 2021, phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump pressed him "to find 11,780 votes."

The probe grew in size and scope over the next two years, ultimately leading to the creation of a special purpose grand jury — tasked with investigating not only Trump but also alleged efforts of numerous allies to thwart the outcome Georgia's election, which President Joe Biden won. The special purpose grand jury had subpoena power, but could not issue indictments. The panel of 23 Georgians interviewed 75 witnesses in 2022, and completed a report in January, which was provided to Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis.

Among those interviewed by the special purpose grand jury were many Trump allies, including his former attorney, Rudy Giuliani; South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham; and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. It also interviewed Georgia officials who are among Trump's political critics, such as Raffensperger and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

In February, a judge ordered a small portion of the report to be made public. The grand jurors wrote that they found "no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election," and that a ""majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it."

A grand jury was impaneled over the summer, and on Aug. 14, it returned an indictment against Trump and 18 allies on charges of election fraud, racketeering and other counts related to alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. 

Those charged include Giuliani and Meadows as well as John Eastman, a conservative lawyer; Jeffrey Clark, a Trump Justice Department official; and Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis, lawyers who pushed baseless claims of voter fraud.

Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO, allows the group to be charged for criminal acts that are alleged to have taken place both in Georgia or outside the state in furtherance of the conspiracy to overturn the outcome of the presidential election in Georgia.

The 98-page indictment lists 41 total counts, including 13 against Trump, and notes there are 30 unindicted co-conspirators. 

The indictment describes several schemes allegedly used by Trump and his co-defendants to attempt to reverse his electoral loss, including making false statements to state legislatures and top state officials; creating fake Electoral College documents and recruiting supporters to cast false votes at the Georgia Capitol; harassing Fulton County election worker Ruby Freeman; and "corruptly" soliciting senior Justice Department officials and then-Vice President Mike Pence. 

It also accuses members of the "enterprise" of stealing data, including ballot images, voting equipment software and personal voter information, from Coffee County, Georgia, and making false statements to government investigators. 

Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. In a statement following the indictment, attorneys for Trump criticized the investigation, saying "this one-sided grand jury presentation relied on witnesses who harbor their own personal and political interests."

"We look forward to a detailed review of this indictment which is undoubtedly just as flawed and unconstitutional as this entire process has been," said the attorneys, Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg.

In a statement to CBS News, Giuliani said the indictment "is an affront to American Democracy and does permanent, irrevocable harm to our justice system."

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