What is Donald Trump being investigated for?

A look at some of the legal cases against the former US president

Former US president Donald Trump takes to the stage at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa, on March 13. Reuters
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Former US president Donald Trump had claimed he would be arrested as part of a New York investigation into the payment of hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

As if he had a crystal ball, a New York grand jury voted to indict Mr Trump on Thursday, the Manhattan District Court Attorney confirmed, making for a historic first criminal charge against any sitting or former American president.

Mr Trump is embroiled in several inquiries involving a federal special counsel and a local prosecutor in Georgia.

The National takes a look:

Stormy Daniels criminal inquiry in New York's Manhattan

New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg has been investigating a $130,000 payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, during Mr Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr Trump's lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, made the payment in the run-up to the election.

Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison in the case, has said the payment was made to stop Ms Clifford from going public about a sexual encounter she claimed to have had with Mr Trump in 2006.

Cohen has testified in front of a grand jury, while Ms Clifford is co-operating with prosecutors.

Mr Trump has denied the allegation and called the investigation a “witch hunt”.

It still isn't known what the criminal charge the indictment entails.

The payment could result in a misdemeanour charge of falsifying business records, or could become a felony if false accounting was intended to cover up a second crime, such as a campaign finance offences.

Will Trump be arrested?

The former president posted on social media earlier in March that he was to be arrested, calling on supporters to protest, and urging New York police to increase security measures in the city's Manhattan borough.

In light of the indictment on March 30, it is expected that Mr Trump will avoid an arrest.

The Manhattan District and Mr Trump's lawyers are working together for him to surrender to authorities in New York and be arraigned in court.

Police have erected barricades around Trump Tower and the District Attorney's office ahead of any potential protests.

Barricades are set up outside the New York District Attorney's office on March 20. Bloomberg

2020 election interference inquiry in Georgia

In Georgia, a special grand jury has heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed evidence about Mr Trump possibly interfering in the southern state's 2020 election results.

The investigation stems from a phone call he had with Secretary of State of Georgia Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021.

Mr Trump called on Mr Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to “find” enough votes to turn over Joe Biden's win in Georgia.

A final report recommending indictments was submitted to prosecutors in December but remains under seal.

The special grand jury does not have the right to issue indictments, but the Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis can convene a regular grand jury to officially consider indictments if she chooses.

Such charges could include election code breaches or racketeering.

Federal inquiry into role in January 6, 2021, mob attack

The US Department of Justice's special counsel Jack Smith is overseeing an investigation into Mr Trump's role in the attack on the US Capitol while Congress was certifying the 2020 election results for his opponent, Joe Biden, on January 6, 2021.

The deadly violence occurred immediately after he held a speech condemning falsehoods that the election was stolen from him, and calling on his supporters to “fight like hell”.

At least 1,000 people have been charged in the attack so far.

A House panel called on the Justice Department to prosecute Mr Trump for incitement of insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the US and conspiracy to make false statements.

Federal classified documents inquiry

Mr Smith is also investigating Mr Trump for his possession and handling of hundreds of classified documents belonging to the government, after his presidency ended in January 2021.

The FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago resort and home in Florida after the government tried to retrieve the top-secret material from Mr Trump's team in several formal requests.

If the case continues, it could result in charges such as breaching the Espionage Act, mishandling official documents, unauthorised retention of national security documents, or obstruction of justice and making false statements.

Updated: April 01, 2023, 12:14 AM

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