Donald Trump is once again caught up in business. On Monday August 14, the former American president was officially charged for his attempts to reverse the result of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.

With four criminal charges in less than six months – and trials at stake – his presidential ambitions could be curbed, as the charges against him are serious and numerous.

The attempt to obstruct the 2020 presidential election in Georgia

State indictment

After two and a half years of investigation and with the agreement of a grand jury, the district attorney of the county of Fulton (Georgia), Fani Willis, indicted, Monday August 14, Donald Trump and eighteen other people for trying to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in the key state of Georgia. Among the 18 others charged are Trump’s adviser and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and an Justice Department official under his administration, Jeffrey Clark.

A criminal investigation had been opened on February 10, 2021 to determine whether Donald Trump had tried to put pressure on Georgian Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger. On January 2, 2021, during a conference call, revealed by the press the next day, Mr. Trump seemed to want to convince his interlocutor to change the results of the election in Georgia, a state he lost to Joe Biden. Mr. Trump told Mr. Raffensperger, “I just want to find 11,780 votes,” which was the number of ballots he needed to win all of the electors attached to this state.

The call came after the Trump team failed in all legal challenges to the courts, with multiple audits and vote recounts showing no evidence of massive voter fraud. This conversation also followed multiple calls to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, as well as public demands made on Mr. Raffensperger, threats of political revenge, public criticism and calls for the governor’s resignation. Kemp.

The 98-page indictment, released August 14, “alleges that instead of complying with Georgia’s legal process for election disputes, the defendants engaged in an organized criminal enterprise to reverse the outcome of the election in Georgia,” Ms. Willis summed up. The act contains a total of forty-one different counts, including “false declarations and false documents, usurpation of public office, forgery and use of forgery”, pressure on witnesses, a series of computer crimes or even perjury. Donald Trump will personally face thirteen counts.

The 19 defendants are charged under Georgia’s extortion and conspiracy law, which generally applies to organized crime, and provides for minimum sentences of five to 20 years. from prison. The prosecutor announced that she wanted to try all the defendants in the same trial “within six months”, but recalled that the date would be set by the judge.

Added to three federal indictments, this state indictment carries some weight. If he were convicted and managed to win the presidency in 2024, Mr. Trump could neither pardon himself nor obtain the dismissal of the charges by the prosecutor’s office. It is indeed a matter at the level of the State of Georgia on which the federal State does not have authority.

Donald Trump’s role in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021

Federal indictment

These are the most serious accusations brought against the former head of state, all the more serious as he was then in office. Mr. Trump was heard in federal court in Washington on Thursday, August 3, where he was formally charged with his attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election. Facing Judge Moxila Upadhyaya, the former president United States Republican pleaded not guilty.

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, who has been carrying out the investigation since November 2022, had revealed two days before that the grand jury – a panel of twenty-three citizens, twelve of whom are enough to decide on an indictment -, meeting for several months in Washington , had approved four charges against the former president:

The 45-page indictment follows the report of the House Committee on the December 2022 Capitol assault, which called for criminal charges against the former president after 18 months of investigation. and over a thousand witnesses interviewed. The grand jury heard from witnesses who refused to appear before the House Committee, such as former Vice President Mike Pence and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

With supporting evidence, the prosecution seeks to show that Donald Trump was aware that he had lost the election and that the appeals had no legal basis. In particular, he criticized Mike Pence for being “too honest” and tried to make him believe that “major electoral violations” had been detected by the Department of Justice.

The investigation showed that when Mr. Trump failed to persuade federal officials to fraudulently swing the election in his favor, he and his team began to create fake electoral lists in some key states, to impose them on local assemblies, before transmission to Congress for certification. These certificates were ultimately ignored by lawmakers, but if this project had succeeded, the Republican could have retained the White House at the expense of Joe Biden.

The prosecution also accuses him of having “exploited” the violence and chaos on Capitol Hill on the afternoon of January 6, 2021 to continue to try to convince lawmakers to postpone the certification of the November 2020 vote.

The Capitol investigation has already resulted in the criminal prosecution of nearly a thousand rioters, and the first convictions were handed down on November 30, 2022. Members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia, were convicted of sedition.

Less than six months from the start of the Republican primary, for which Donald Trump remains a big favorite, prosecutor Jack Smith has announced that he wants to reach a “speedy trial”. A further hearing to determine the trial date has been set for August 28.

The concealment of classified government documents at Mar-a-Lago

Scheduled trial

Leaving the White House in January 2021, Donald Trump took with him whole boxes of documents. However, a 1978 law obliges all American presidents to transmit all of their emails, letters and other working documents to the National Archives.

The archives service noticed the absence of certain documents the following spring and asked Mr. Trump to return them. A request remained a dead letter until January 2022, when the ex-president finally returned fifteen cards. Upon receipt of these boxes, including 184 “classified” documents, the National Archives asked the US Department of Justice to open an investigation.

In May 2022, the Justice Department formally requested the return of all government documents. After several witness hearings, the federal police estimated that the ex-president probably kept others in his luxurious residence in Mar-a-Lago (Florida).

His lawyers then submitted, in June 2022, a second batch of documents to the Department of Justice, claiming that there were no more. But evidence obtained by federal investigators, including CCTV footage of the villa, justified a search of Mr. Trump’s home on August 8, 2022. The FBI then obtained thirty-three additional boxes, containing more than 11,000 government documents, including 103 sealed with confidentiality; eighteen were even classified as “top secret”. The search warrant then referred to a potential violation of the Espionage Act of 1917 – which prohibits any collection of national security information that could harm the United States.

According to investigative special prosecutor Jack Smith, boxes were strewn around Mar-a-Lago in various locations, including “a ballroom, bathroom and shower, office space, her bedroom and storage space”. For investigators in the Mar-a-Lago case, the obstruction is repeated and salient, as Mr. Trump suggested one of his lawyers claim he did not have the documents sought by investigators. Mr. Trump, as well as two of his assistants (Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira), is also accused of having asked an employee of his residence to “delete CCTV images of the Club de Mar -a-Lago to prevent these images from being handed over” to justice.

On June 13, Donald Trump appeared before a judge in Miami, Florida, to be served with 37 charges – including “illegal withholding of national security information”, “obstructing justice” and “false testimony” – some of which are punishable by ten or twenty years in prison. It was the first time a former US president had been indicted at the federal level. Three new charges were added to the case later, for the attempted erasure of CCTV footage. The billionaire chose to plead not guilty.

The trial date has been set for May 20, 2024, just two months before the Republican nomination convention, for which Mr. Trump is a frontrunner. But the three new charges added to the case in July, related to the attempt to erase CCTV footage, could delay the proceedings.

Secret 2016 campaign payments

Scheduled trial

Donald Trump was formally charged Tuesday, April 4, by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with “orchestrated” a series of payments to cover up three embarrassing cases ahead of the 2016 election. four counts.

The prosecutor detailed the payments that the former US president is accused of: a doorman at Trump Tower, who claimed to have information about a child out of wedlock, was paid $30,000 to remain silent; a woman who posed as a former mistress was paid $150,000 to keep a low profile; and finally a pornographic actress, probably Stormy Daniels, collected 130,000 dollars to conceal an alleged extramarital affair.

Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty. After his appearance, the former president emerged free from the court, without judicial review. The trial date has been set for March 25, 2024, but the prosecutor has hinted that he is willing to change his schedule to prioritize a federal trial in another case.

Opened in August 2018 by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and taken over since the summer of 2022 by his successor, Alvin Bragg, the investigation sought in particular to determine whether the former Republican president had surrendered. guilty of misrepresentation, a misdemeanor, and especially breach of campaign finance laws, a criminal offence, by failing to mention in his election campaign expenses a payment of 130,000 dollars (120,000 euros) to the actress and director of pornographic films Stormy Daniels, in 2016.

The case really came to light when the Wall Street Journal revealed in early 2018 that the billionaire had bought the silence of Stephanie Clifford – the real name of former porn actress Stormy Daniels – by entering into a confidential agreement accompanied by a wire transfer bank account of $130,000, executed on October 26, 2016 by his lawyer and then confidant, Michael Cohen. The arrangement called for Ms. Clifford to conceal an alleged sexual relationship she allegedly had with Donald Trump in 2006 when he had been married to Melania Trump for a year. Mr. Trump has always denied the affair.

The investigation accelerated on October 21, 2018, when Mr. Cohen admitted to arranging payment for Mr. Trump. The ex-president had initially disputed having knowledge of the payment, before admitting to having reimbursed his lawyer for this payment, which he described as “a simple private transaction”. If the agreement made with Stormy Daniels was indeed authorized, it could however correspond to a campaign expense. However, the sum does not appear in the candidate’s 2016 accounts: it was listed as “legal fees” in the documents of the Trump Organization. Mr. Cohen, who has since pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws and spent more than a year in prison, now stands as a central witness.