Donald Trump has steadfastly settled a number of major legal headaches in the lead-up to his 2024 run.
Other cases are expected to conclude well before 2024.
However, Trump still faces open-ended risks from the Justice Department and Fulton County's DA.
While he was president, Donald Trump spent four years delaying investigations and lawsuits against him.
In the lead-up to announcing a third presidential run, he cleared many of them away.
Earlier in November, he settled a lawsuit brought way back in September 2015 by protesters who alleged they were beaten up by his security guards outside Trump tower while demonstrating against his racist diatribes against Mexicans.
Between the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022, he went on a settlement sprint.
In September 2021, his company also settled a lawsuit from a hotel management company that purchased Trump's hotel in Panama, claiming the Trump Organization misrepresented its financial health. A couple of months later, just before Trump was scheduled to sit for a deposition, he settled a case brought by Summer Zervos, who had alleged he sexually assaulted her twice and then defamed her when he called her a liar. And in May, Trump's company and inaugural committee agreed to pay a $750,000 fine to settle an investigation from Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine over misspent money he claimed enriched members of the Trump family.
Trump can also thank judges for handing him several victories.
November 15, 2022 was probably his best day in court in recent memory. In a New York state court case, a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by his niece Mary Trump, who alleged he and two of his siblings maneuvered to thwart her of her rightful inherited share from the family business empire.
On the same day, another judge, in a New York federal court, dismissed a lawsuit brought by Michael Cohen who alleged the Trump administration targeted him personally to remove him from house arrest and keep him behind bars in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. (Cohen told Insider he's considering an appeal.)
Some cases involving Trump's associates, too, are no longer hanging over him.
His longtime friend Tom Barrack was acquitted by a jury in Brooklyn over charges that he illegally acted as a lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates. Prosecutors said they wouldn't seek charges against his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani following an investigation into whether he illegally acted as a lobbyist to foreign powers, either.
In the loss column, Steve Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the committee investigating the January 6 riot. The Supreme Court this week also cleared the way for a separate House committee to obtain his tax returns, though it's unclear what will happen to them before Republicans retake the chamber in January.
He may be able to clear the rest by 2024...
Some of Trump's legal headaches he just can't get rid of, no matter how hard he rages.
Earlier this month, the Trump Organization lost a trial in Manhattan on criminal tax fraud charges. The defense argument, Insider's Laura Italiano reported, relied on convincing the jury that Trump was just a really generous boss and didn't keep too close an eye on his company's financial affairs. It didn't work.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office also hasn't ruled out the possibility that it would bring charges against Trump personally as part of its investigation into his company's finances. And Trump is facing a $250 million lawsuit from the New York Attorney General as part of a parallel case alleging he inflated the company's income to cheat banks and insurers. The attorney general's office has already convinced a judge to put his company under an independent monitorship, held him in contempt, and forced him and other executives to sit for depositions.
E. Jean Carroll's litigation against Trump, accusing him of rape and defamation, is expected to head to trial in April. The New York Attorney General's case is scheduled to go to trial in October
Another lawsuit, brought by plaintiffs who allege the Trump Organization cheated them by pushing a scam multi-level marketing scheme, will likely head to trial in the fall of 2023 if it isn't settled by then. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have asked the judge for an October 2023 trial date, "before primary contests and other campaign-related events begin in earnest."
"Plaintiffs have no desire to interfere with the upcoming campaign, and are mindful that, should the schedule in this case extend into 2024, Defendants likely will, as they have in the past, use the campaign as a basis to seek further delay," the lawyers wrote.
...with a few major exceptions
Trump's most severe legal problems are also the ones he will have the most difficulty getting rid of.
His biggest threats are from the Justice Department, which opened a criminal investigation into his handling of government records he took with him to Mar-a-Lago. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith, an experienced war crimes and political corruption prosecutor, as special counsel overseeing the probe.
Trump won an early victory by successfully convincing a federal judge he appointed in Florida to bring a "special master" in the case, briefly delaying the government's ability to use documents it seized from his estate for its investigation. But his lawyers have been embarrassed by the circuit court in appeals related to the case, indicating his legal defenses will have a tough time as the investigation progresses.
Smith is also overseeing a separate criminal investigation into efforts to keep Trump in power despite losing the 2020 election. Trump faces a series of lawsuits from members of Congress as well as Capitol Police officers injured during the January 6 riot that seek to hold him responsible for the day's chaos. While the House of Representatives' January 6 panel wrapped up this month, before Republicans retake it in January, the legal cases have no end in sight.
Trump's efforts to stay in power despite the will of American voters have also drawn scrutiny in Georgia. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been overseeing a thorough probe into his calls to state officials asking them to "find" votes in his favor and invalidate now-President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.
Willis has been fighting court battles to force figures in Trump's orbit to sit for depositions in her investigations and is said to consider bringing indictments as soon as December.
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