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Trump Facing Significant Other Criminal Cases

FILE - Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.
FILE - Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.

WASHINGTON — Former U.S. President Donald Trump, indicted in connection with his handling of classified documents after he left the White House in early 2021, is also facing two other significant criminal investigations. One is related to his 2020 reelection loss; in the other, he has been charged with altering business records to hide hush money paid to a porn star ahead of his successful 2016 presidential campaign.

Special counsel Jack Smith, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland and working with an extensive team of prosecutors, is heading the two most wide-ranging inquiries.

One involves Trump’s retention of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Trump said Thursday night that he had been indicted and ordered to face the charges in a Miami court on Tuesday.

Under U.S. law, presidents are required to turn over presidential papers to the National Archives as they leave office, but Trump instead took some with him, many of them marked as highly classified.

Trump voluntarily returned some of the documents after authorities repeatedly asked for them. But when Justice Department officials concluded that he had still more at Mar-a-Lago, they secured a court-ordered warrant to search the estate last August. There, FBI agents discovered more classified material.

Trump has contended he was entitled as a former president to keep the documents.

The other Smith investigation involves Trump's effort to upend his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the weeks after the November 2020 election, including his admonition on January 6, 2021, for his supporters to head to the U.S. Capitol and "fight like hell" to keep Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory.

About 2,000 Trump supporters stormed into the Capitol, ransacked congressional offices and clashed with police that day. About 1,000 of the rioters have since been charged with criminal offenses and about half have been convicted so far. Sentences have ranged from a few months to 18 years behind bars.

In a narrower criminal probe, a state prosecutor in Atlanta, Fani Willis, is investigating Trump's role in trying to overturn his 11,779-vote loss to Biden in the southern state of Georgia.

In a recorded conversation days ahead of the congressional certification of Biden's victory, Trump pleaded with Georgia state election chief Brad Raffensperger and other election officials to "find" him 11,780 votes, one more than he needed to overcome his loss.

"The people of Georgia are angry. The people in the country are angry," Trump said in the call to Georgia officials. "And there's nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you've recalculated."

Smith has subpoenaed an array of former top Trump administration officials, including former Vice President Mike Pence, to testify before a grand jury about their conversations with Trump in the weeks after the election and his efforts to upend the election result.

Pence is among the candidates running for the Republican nomination in the 2024 election

One effort, never fully implemented in states Trump lost to Biden, was to sign up fake electors supporting Trump to replace the legitimate ones committed to Biden in the Electoral College vote count.

Willis has signaled she will decide by early August whether to file charges against Trump or any of his aides, while Smith could also bring his election-related investigation to a head in the coming months.

In New York, Trump is facing a March 2024 trial on charges that he altered business records at his real estate conglomerate to hide a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to silence her about her claim of a one-night encounter with him a decade earlier.

He has denied the purported liaison and all other charges he is facing.

In a civil inquiry that centers on events related to Trump's real estate business empire, New York state Attorney General Letitia James has accused Trump of lying to lenders and insurers about the value of his properties.

She is seeking to bar Trump, along with his sons Donald Jr. and Eric and his daughter Ivanka, from continuing to run a business in New York. A New York judge declined in January to dismiss James' suit, and a trial is scheduled for October.

In a recent civil case, Trump was ordered to pay E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, $5 million for sexually abusing her in a New York department store three decades ago.