Former President Donald J. Trump has faced a wave of legal scrutiny, at both the state and federal levels, into his business and political careers.
Those investigations have led to Mr. Trump’s being sued by the New York attorney general and criminally indicted in four separate cases: two brought by the special counsel Jack Smith, one by the Manhattan district attorney and the last coming from local prosecutors in Georgia. He is also facing attempts to keep him from appearing on state ballots for having inspired the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The result is a striking split screen as Mr. Trump fights multiple lawsuits and 91 felony charges across four states while running his latest campaign for the presidency.
The trials began last year, not with a criminal case, but with the civil trial led by the New York attorney general, Letitia James. It is the culmination of a four-year battle between the Trump family and the attorney general, who sued Mr. Trump, his adult sons and their company, accusing them of fraudulently inflating the former president’s net worth by billions of dollars.
Ms. James, a Democrat, wants to extract a $370 million penalty, and to oust Mr. Trump from his own company and the wider world of New York real estate. In effect, she could run Mr. Trump out of doing business in the state he once called home.
The criminal cases carry far more serious repercussions for Mr. Trump, who could face years behind bars.
The Georgia case leveled the most extensive accusations yet against the former president, who was charged with orchestrating a “criminal enterprise” to reverse Georgia’s results in the 2020 election and subvert the will of voters. He was charged alongside 18 of his lawyers, advisers and supporters as part of a sweeping racketeering case.
The case, brought by the Fulton County district attorney, Fani T. Willis, was the fourth and perhaps final indictment of Mr. Trump.
The indictments began in March 2023, when the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, filed 34 felony charges against Mr. Trump related to what prosecutors described as a hush-money scheme to cover up a potential sex scandal and clear his path to the presidency in 2016.
The first federal case came months later, in June, as part of the special counsel’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of classified documents and whether he obstructed the government’s efforts to recover them after he left office.
In that case, Mr. Trump faces 40 criminal counts: 32 related to withholding national defense information, five related to concealing the possession of classified documents, one related to making false statements and two related to an effort to delete security camera footage at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, where he stored the documents.
The special counsel also filed another case against Mr. Trump over his efforts to reverse his defeat in the 2020 election.
Here is where the notable cases involving the former president stand:
New York State Civil Inquiry
In a 2022 lawsuit, Ms. James, the New York attorney general, accused Mr. Trump of lying to lenders and insurers by fraudulently overvaluing his assets by billions of dollars on annual financial statements. The goal of the fraud, she said, was to obtain favorable loan terms and insurance policies.
In some years, Mr. Trump’s financial statements inflated his net worth by as much as $2 billion, according to Ms. James.
When the case went to trial in October 2023, Mr. Trump was already at a significant disadvantage. The judge overseeing the case — there is no jury — had ruled that the former president had persistently committed fraud, deciding that no trial was needed to determine the claim at the core of Ms. James’s lawsuit.
As an initial punishment, the judge, Arthur F. Engoron, effectively revoked Mr. Trump’s licenses to operate his New York properties, though an appeals court is now reviewing that punishment.
- Key Cases and Inquiries: The former president faces several investigations at both the state and the federal levels, into matters related to his business and political careers. Here is a close look at each.
- Case Tracker: Trump is at the center of four criminal investigations. Keep track of the developments in each here.
- What if Trump Is Convicted?: Will any of the proceedings hinder Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign? Can a convicted felon even run for office? Here is what we know, and what we don’t know.
- Receive a Weekly Update: Sign up for the Trump on Trial newsletter to get the latest news and analysis on the cases in New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.
The bulk of the trial concerned whether Mr. Trump had violated other New York laws, as well as what penalty the former president must pay and whether he will be in essence evicted from the world of New York real estate that made him famous.
Mr. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and called Justice Engoron, a Democrat, “deranged.” Mr. Trump’s lawyers have also argued that the banks were hardly victims — they made a lot of money from dealing with Mr. Trump and did not rely on his financial statements.
Mr. Trump’s older daughter, Ivanka Trump, was also one of the targets of the suit, but she was dropped from it in June after an appeals court found that the attorney general had missed a legal deadline for bringing claims against her.
Mr. Trump had argued that the appeals court ruling also effectively excused him from the case, but Justice Engoron disagreed and cleared the case for trial.
Mr. Trump attended several days of trial, and Ms. James called him to testify. He delivered an emotional and chaotic performance, while acknowledging some involvement in crafting his financial statements.
Ms. James’s investigators had already questioned Mr. Trump under oath twice, though one of those times he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.
Georgia Criminal Inquiry
Ms. Willis, a Democrat, brought the sweeping case against Mr. Trump over his efforts to interfere with the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
The 41-count indictment also brought charges against some of Mr. Trump’s most prominent advisers, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who served as his personal lawyer, and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff at the time of the election.
All 19 defendants — a cross-section of conservative operatives that also includes a former senior Justice Department official, the former chairman of the Georgia Republican Party and lawyers who were part of the “elite strike force team” who amplified Mr. Trump’s claims — were charged under the state’s racketeering statute.
That law was originally designed to dismantle organized crime groups, and in essence, prosecutors asserted that Mr. Trump sat atop a criminal enterprise designed to keep him in power. (Mr. Trump is facing 13 counts, including racketeering and conspiracy to commit forgery.)
The indictment outlined eight ways the defendants were accused of obstructing the election, including by lying to the Georgia state legislature about claims of voter fraud and creating fake pro-Trump electors.
Mr. Trump and the other defendants, prosecutors wrote, “knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”
Mr. Trump and his associates had numerous interactions with Georgia officials after the election, including a now-infamous call in which he urged the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find 11,780 votes,” the number he would have needed to reverse his defeat there.
A special grand jury was impaneled in May 2022 in Fulton County, and it heard testimony from 75 witnesses behind closed doors over a series of months. The jurors produced a final report that was unsealed in September 2023.
In it, they recommended indicting more than twice as many Trump allies as were eventually charged, including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; the former senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia; and Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser.
Prosecutors seemingly concluded that some of the people named in the report had committed acts that would be too difficult to prove were criminal.
Mr. Trump has asked a state judge to throw out most of the 13 charges against him; he is not seeking to have his case moved to federal court.
In the hours after the indictment was unsealed, Mr. Trump denounced the case in a post on his social media platform, saying that he would release an “irrefutable” report that would somehow prove his false claims of election fraud in Georgia.
2020 Election and Jan. 6 Inquiries
Two weeks before the Georgia indictment was unveiled, Jack Smith, the special counsel who took over the Justice Department’s inquiries into Mr. Trump, brought four charges related to the former president’s efforts to remain in office after his election loss and his role in the events that led to the storming of the Capitol. The two cases cover some of the same ground.
But Mr. Smith’s indictment, handed up in Federal District Court last August, charged a narrower case, indicting only Mr. Trump with three conspiracy charges in connection with his effort to stay in power: one to defraud the United States, a second to obstruct an official government proceeding and a third to deprive people of civil rights provided by federal law or the Constitution.
Mr. Trump was also charged with attempting to obstruct an official proceeding — the certification of the election results by Congress.
The scheme charged by Mr. Smith played out largely in the two months between Election Day in 2020 and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. During that period, Mr. Trump took part in a range of efforts to retain power despite having lost the presidential race.
“The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the federal government function by which those results are collected, counted and certified,” the indictment said
The indictment said Mr. Trump and six unnamed co-conspirators had pushed state legislators and election officials to change electoral votes won by President Biden to votes for Mr. Trump. Among other things, the scheme involved convening fake slates of electors who supported Mr. Trump and sending those illegitimate tallies to Congress to muddy the waters.
“That is, on the pretext of baseless fraud claims, the defendant pushed officials in certain states to ignore the popular vote; disenfranchise millions of voters; dismiss legitimate electors; and ultimately, cause the ascertainment of and voting by illegitimate electors in favor of the defendant,” the indictment said.
Prosecutors also accused Mr. Trump of recruiting fake electors in swing states won by Mr. Biden, trying to use the power of the Justice Department to fuel election conspiracy theories, and pressuring his vice president, Mike Pence, to delay the certification of the election or reject legitimate electors.
Finally the indictment accused Mr. Trump and others of exploiting the Jan. 6 riot to redouble his “efforts to levy false claims of election fraud and convince members of Congress to further delay the certification based on those claims.”
The federal judge overseeing the case, Tanya S. Chutkan, set a trial date for March 4, 2024, but was forced to put the case on hold as Mr. Trump mounted a sweeping attack on the indictment, claiming he was immune to the charges because they arose from acts he took as president.
His claims were heard in January by a federal appeals court and could end up in front of the Supreme Court.
While a House committee spent half a year investigating the Jan. 6 riot, Mr. Smith’s office conducted its own investigation into Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the election. The office built on months of work by other federal prosecutors in Washington who have filed charges against more than 1,200 people who took part in the storming of the Capitol.
Classified Documents Inquiry
Mr. Smith also led the investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents he took with him when he left office and whether he obstructed efforts to recover them.
For more than a year, Mr. Trump repeatedly resisted the federal government’s efforts, including a subpoena, to retrieve classified and sensitive material still in his possession, according to government documents.
In August 2022, acting on a court-approved search warrant, the F.B.I. descended on his Mar-a-Lago residence and club in Palm Beach, Fla., and discovered about 100 documents bearing classification markings.
The 49-page indictment unsealed last year said the documents held onto by Mr. Trump included some involving sensitive nuclear programs and others that detailed the country’s potential vulnerabilities to military attack.
In some cases, prosecutors said, he displayed them to people without security clearances and stored them in a haphazard manner at Mar-a-Lago, even keeping a pile of boxes in a bathroom.
The indictment included evidence vividly illustrating what prosecutors said was Mr. Trump’s effort to hide the material from prosecutors and obstruct their investigation.
In one of the most problematic pieces of evidence for the former president, the indictment recounted how at one point during the effort by the government to retrieve the documents, Mr. Trump, according to an account by one of his lawyers, made a “plucking motion” that implied, “Why don’t you take them with you to your hotel room, and if there’s anything really bad in there, like, you know, pluck it out.”
Mr. Trump was initially charged with 37 criminal counts covering seven different violations of federal law, alone or in conjunction with one of his personal aides, Walt Nauta, who was also named in the indictment. Mr. Smith’s office later filed an updated indictment adding three new charges against Mr. Trump and for the first time naming the property manager of Mar-a-Lago, Carlos De Oliveira, as a defendant in the case.
The indictment accused Mr. Trump, Mr. De Oliveira and Mr. Nauta of trying to delete Mar-a-Lago security footage. It describes how in June 2022, just days after prosecutors issued a subpoena for footage from the cameras, Mr. De Oliveira approached an employee in Mar-a-Lago’s I.T. department to say that the “‘boss’ wanted the server deleted” — a reference to the computer server housing the footage.
When the employee refused, Mr. De Oliveira repeated the orders from “the boss,” according to the indictment. “What are we going to do?” Mr. De Oliveira asked.
That employee, who was not named in the indictment, was later identified as Yuscil Taveras, who ran Mar-a-Lago’s technology department. He is now cooperating with prosecutors in the case.
Mr. Trump pleaded not guilty, and the judge overseeing the case initially indicated that a trial would begin in May 2024. But she later expressed concern that her trial might “collide” with the election trial in Washington and set a hearing for March 1 to decide on a schedule moving forward.
Manhattan Criminal Case
The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, brought the case over Mr. Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, who threatened during the 2016 presidential campaign to go public with her story of a sexual encounter with him.
Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s fixer at the time, paid Ms. Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet. Once he was sworn in as president, Mr. Trump reimbursed Mr. Cohen.
While paying hush money is not inherently criminal, Mr. Bragg accused Mr. Trump of falsifying records related to the payments and the reimbursement of Mr. Cohen, who is expected to serve as the prosecution’s star witness.
In court papers, prosecutors also cited the account of another woman, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model. Ms. McDougal had tried to sell her story of an affair with Mr. Trump during the campaign and reached a $150,000 agreement with The National Enquirer.
Rather than publish her account, the tabloid suppressed it in cooperation with Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen, prosecutors say. (Mr. Trump has denied having affairs with either Ms. Daniels or Ms. McDougal.)
The court papers also referred to a payment to a former Trump Tower doorman who claimed that Mr. Trump had fathered a child out of wedlock. The National Enquirer paid $30,000 for the rights to his story, although it eventually concluded that his claim was false.
The case is scheduled to go to trial in March, when the 2024 presidential campaign will be in full swing. Yet Mr. Bragg has publicly indicated a willingness to delay the trial while the federal cases against Mr. Trump proceed, though the schedule will ultimately be set by the judge overseeing the case.
Mr. Trump has referred to Mr. Bragg, who is Black and a Democrat, as a “racist” who is carrying out a politically motivated “witch hunt.” Before the indictment, he made threatening statements reminiscent of his posts in the days before the attack on the U.S. Capitol in 2021.
Hours after his arraignment, Mr. Trump delivered a meandering, rally-style speech at Mar-a-Lago during which he lashed out at Mr. Bragg and Mr. Bragg’s wife as well as the judge overseeing the case, Juan M. Merchan, whom he called “Trump-hating.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyers failed in an attempt to move the case out of Justice Merchan’s courtroom, with a federal judge saying that its proper home was state court.
Mr. Bragg’s investigation into Mr. Trump once appeared to be at a dead end. Under Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the district attorney’s office had begun to present evidence to an earlier grand jury about Mr. Trump’s business practices, including whether he had fraudulently inflated the value of his real estate to secure favorable loans and other financial benefits. (Mr. Vance’s prosecutors were also investigating the hush money.)
In the early weeks of his tenure, Mr. Bragg developed concerns about the strength of that case. He decided to abandon the grand-jury presentation, prompting the resignations of the two senior prosecutors leading the investigation.
But eventually, Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors returned to the hush-money case, seeking to jump-start the inquiry.
After Mr. Bragg impaneled the grand jury in January, it heard testimony from Mr. Cohen as well as two former National Enquirer executives who had helped broker the hush-money deal. Ms. Daniels’s former lawyer also testified, as did two senior officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway. The grand jury also heard testimony from employees of Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization.
In late 2022, Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors won a conviction of the Trump Organization when a jury found the business guilty of multiple felonies related to a long-running tax fraud scheme. The company’s veteran chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, pleaded guilty in the scheme and served time at the Rikers Island jail complex.
Other State Inquiries
In July, the Michigan attorney general announced felony charges against 16 Republicans for falsely portraying themselves as electors from the state in an effort to overturn Mr. Trump’s 2020 defeat there.
Each of the defendants was charged with eight felony counts, including forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery, on accusations that they had signed documents attesting falsely that they were Michigan’s “duly elected and qualified electors” for president and vice president.
“They weren’t the duly elected and qualified electors, and each of the defendants knew it,” Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said in announcing the charges. “They carried out these actions with the hope and belief that the electoral votes of Michigan’s 2020 election would be awarded to the candidate of their choosing instead of the candidate that Michigan voters actually chose.”
Those charged in Michigan included Meshawn Maddock, 55, who went on to serve for a time as the co-leader of the Michigan Republican Party. Ms. Maddock, who has close ties to Mr. Trump and is married to Matt Maddock, a state representative, accused Ms. Nessel of “a personal vendetta.”
“This is part of a national coordinated” effort to stop Mr. Trump, she added.
Wright Blake, a lawyer representing Mayra Rodriguez, 64, another elector who is a lawyer, said in an interview: “I’m very disappointed in the attorney general’s office. This is all political, obviously. If they want to charge my client, how come they didn’t charge Trump and the Trump lawyers that he sent here to discuss with the delegates what to do?”
In Arizona, the attorney general, Kris Mayes, said last year that she would investigate the fake electors situation. “I will take very seriously any effort to undermine our democracy. Those are the cases that I will take most seriously,” she said.
Her communications director, Richie Taylor, confirmed that there was an active and ongoing investigation into the situation, but declined to comment further.
Reporting was contributed by Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, Jonah E. Bromwich, Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Michael Gold, Michael Rothfeld, Ed Shanahan, Richard Fausset and Ashley Wong.