Trump legal battles continue, even after Manhattan DA charges

Former President Trump was indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for allegedly falsifying his business records related to a hush-money payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, in an unprecedented move by a local prosecutor charging a former president of the United States with a felony. The charges stem from the $130,000 hush-money payment that then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Bragg charged Trump with falsifying business records related to the hush-money payment to Daniels. The charges come after federal prosecutors in the U.S. attorneys office for the Southern District of New York opted out of charging Trump related to the Stormy Daniels payment in 2019, even as Cohen implicated him as part of his plea deal. The Federal Election Commission also tossed its investigation into the matter in 2021. While the Manhattan district attorney’s office is the only venue Trump has formally been charged, the former president is the target of a number of other investigations and legal battles. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith, a DOJ official, as special counsel to investigate Trump’s alleged improper retention of classified records from his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago home.  Smith has also taken over the Justice Department’s investigation into the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021—specifically whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021. President Biden is also currently under special counsel investigation for his alleged improper retention of classified records from the Obama administration. Former Vice President Pence also had classified records at his home—a matter under review by the Justice Department.  The appointment of a special counsel in the matter comes after the FBI, in August, in an unprecedented move, raided Trump’s private residence at Mar-a-Lago in connection with an investigation into classified records the former president allegedly took with him from the White House. The raid was related to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which said earlier this year that Trump took 15 boxes of presidential records to his personal residence in Florida. Those boxes allegedly contained “classified national security information,” and official correspondence between Trump and foreign heads of state. The NARA notified Congress in February that the agency recovered the 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago and “identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes.” The matter was referred to the Justice Department by NARA. FBI WOULD NOT LET TRUMP ATTORNEYS IN ROOMS AS AGENTS RAIDED MAR-A-LAGO, WARRANT FOCUSED ON NARA: SOURCE Trump, earlier this year, said the National Archives did not “find” the documents, but that they were “given, upon request.” Sources close to the former president said he had been cooperating and there was “no need” for the raid. Classified material that was reportedly confiscated by the FBI during the raid Monday included a letter to Trump from former President Obama, a letter from Kim Jong Un, a birthday dinner menu and a cocktail napkin. New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, has been investigating Trump since she took office in January 2019. James brought a lawsuit against Trump in September alleging he and his company misled banks and others about the value of his assets. James’ claimed that Trump and his children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, as well as his associates and businesses, allegedly committed “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” regarding financial statements. James alleged Trump “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars” and said his children helped him to do so. Over the summer, Trump appeared in downtown New York City for his deposition before James. James’ office has been conducting a civil investigation into the Trump Organization to find out whether Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of assets on financial statements in order to obtain loans and tax benefits.  “I did nothing wrong, which is why, after five years of looking, the Federal, State and local governments, together with the Fake News Media, have found nothing,” Trump said in a statement in August.  “The United States Constitution exists for this very purpose, and I will utilize it to the fullest extent to defend myself against this malicious attack by this administration, this Attorney General’s Office, and all other attacks on my family, my business, and our Country.” TRUMP RAID LINKED TO DOJ, NATIONAL ARCHIVES PROBE INTO CLASSIFIED DOCS ALLEGEDLY TAKEN TO MAR-A-LAGO “I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” he continued. “When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice.”  “If there was any question in my mind, the raid of my home, Mar-a-Lago, on Monday by the FBI, just two days prior to this deposition, wiped out any uncertainty,” Trump said. “I have absolutely no choice because the current Administration and many prosecutors in this Country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency.” Trump added: “Accordingly, under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.” When Trump was president, James sued his administration dozens of times, challenging policies on the environment, immigration, education, health care and other issues.  Special Counsel Jack Smith, who also is investigating Trump’s alleged improper retention of classified records at Mar-a-Lago, took over the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation.  Smith is investigating whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021. In Georgia, in early 2021, prosecutors in Fulton County opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state, including his phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump suggested the Republicans “find” enough votes to change the results.  A special grand jury last month released portions of a report detailing its findings in the investigation.  The report indicated a majority of the grand jury believes that one or more witnesses may have committed perjury in their testimony, and recommends that prosecutors pursue indictments against them, if the district attorney finds the evidence compelling. Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told Fox News Digital that the report does “not even mention” Trump’s name and has “nothing to do with the president because President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong.” “The President participated in two perfect phone calls regarding election integrity in Georgia, which he is entitled to do—in fact, as President, it was President Trump’s constitutional duty to ensure election safety, security, and integrity,” Cheung said. “Between the two calls, there were many officials and attorneys on the line, including the Secretary of State of Georgia, and no one objected, even slightly protested, or hung up.” He added: “President Trump will always keep fighting for true and honest elections in America.”  Trump’s legal team, this week, filed a motion Monday to rescind the report of the special grand jury. Trump’s attorneys asked that all evidence stemming from the grand jury be ruled as unconstitutional.
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