It is unlikely that the Senate will indict former US President Donald Trump for incitement to revolt, but the end of his second impeachment trial will not mean the curtain on his legal disputes will be brought down. Criminal charges may soon be brought against the former White Housemaster, as well as the numerous civil lawsuits filed against him.
The former real estate mogul, who now lives out of the limelight in his luxurious Florida residence, is no stranger to the legal system. As long as an army of his lawyers used to defend him and attack his opponents during civil case hearings. And since he has returned once again to be just a citizen without presidential immunity, he faces an unprecedented possibility that he will be charged.
He is now the target of at least one criminal investigation led by Manhattan prosecutor Cyrus Vance, who has been fighting for months to obtain Trump’s eight-year tax revenue. While the matter initially focused on pre-election payments for two women who claimed to have had ties with Trump, a statewide investigation is now looking into suspicions of tax evasion and bank fraud.
In July, the Supreme Court ordered Trump’s accountants to hand over the financial documents to Vance’s team. Trump’s lawyers filed a petition regarding the volume of the requested documents, which has yet to be decided. Trump described the investigation as “the worst ruthless campaign in the history of the United States.” But Vance’s case, which is being heard in closed sessions by a grand jury, appears to be moving forward.
According to US media, investigators from Vance’s office recently questioned employees of Deutsche Bank, the bank that had long supported the former president and Trump’s organization. They also spoke to employees, including his insurance broker named “Aon”. They also investigated Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison after admitting he had paid to silence the two women, who were suspected of having ties with Trump. In testimony to Congress, the former attorney said that Trump and his company had falsely inflated and devalued their assets in order to obtain bank loans and cut their taxes. Possibility of imprisonment – Tita James, a Democrat, is investigating the New York Attorney on the same charges. Her team questioned Eric Trump, the former president’s son, under oath despite opposition from Trump’s lawyers, and obtained documents about some of the family’s property. While her investigation is civilian, she recently stated that if she finds any evidence of criminal activity, this would “change the position of our case.”
If Trump is indebted, he risks jail. Unlike federal crimes, the president cannot pardon state convictions. In any case, Biden pledged to reconcile with the Republicans, but it is unlikely that he will intervene in any criminal prosecution. The possibility of charges being brought against the 74-year-old former president arouses the glee of his opponents, including activists from the “Rise and Resist” group, which called for his imprisonment during a demonstration in New York in January.
However, a number of lawyers told AFP that prosecutors are aware of the fragility of the US political climate and therefore will think carefully before taking action against it. “I don’t think anyone is going to rush” to prosecute Trump, said former attorney and professor of law at Columbia University Daniel Richman. “The last thing they want is for the procedures to be used or seen as another tool within a political process,” he added. – “Circus” – For her part, attorney Roberta Kaplan, who is leading three civil lawsuits against Trump, indicates that there are two schools of thought in this regard. “I belong to a large extent in the school that says that you should not refrain from administering justice for fear of this causing a state of tension among the people,” she stated.
Kaplan believes that the prosecution of Trump will be proof of the principle that no one is above the law in the United States. “The risks of not entrenching these principles and making sure that justice is achieved are very great in the long run,” she told France Press. For Gloria Brown-Marshall, a law professor at The City University in New York, seeing Trump in the dock would be the “very logical conclusion” of his presidency. And she anticipates what she described as the “Al Capone Scenario” when the legendary gang leader was found guilty in the 1920s for tax evasion, rather than the most serious crimes he committed.
But even if Trump is formally charged before Vance expires in October, Brown-Marshall excludes a trial or sentence against the former president. She noted that with millions of Trump supporters preparing to finance his defense, he may launch a counter-attack by filing lawsuits that lead to stalling cases for years. Consequently, elected prosecutors who depend on taxpayer money will have to raise huge sums to be indicted, something they will likely not want to do. The former prosecutor and professor of law at Pace University indicated that he expected Vance to indict Trump, but said, “If he is going to face a jury, it will be a circus. It will be an unprecedented spectacle.”