It’s time for our quarterly check-in on the long-running soap opera The Legal Adventures of Donald J. Trump.
What happened: The New York civil fraud trial against Donald Trump has come to a close. Like anything involving Trump, it was dramatic, including a bomb threat at the presiding judge’s home and the former president being barred from delivering a formal closing argument himself.
Catch-up: New York Attorney General Letitia James levied the suit in 2022, accusing The Donald of fraud claims centred on lying about his wealth to secure better loans. Trump denies these claims, though the judge has already signalled that he’d be found liable.
- For at least some charges, that is, which would bar him from doing business in New York state. The ruling is expected by month’s end, and Trump could appeal it.
Zoom out: In case you forgot, Trump is also fighting four criminal cases, facing 91 total charges related to election interference, mishandling classified state documents, and falsifying records to cover up hush money given to porn star Stormy Daniels.
- The case centred on mishandling documents is on pause as Washington appeals court judges rule on whether a U.S. president has absolute immunity for any crimes committed while in office.
Big picture: Trump is also appealing the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling to bar him from its 2024 Republican state primary ballot. The Supreme Court will rule on that matter.
- Trump is back on the ballot while the court hears his appeal, but the ban led to a push by groups and politicians in states like Michigan and California to do the same.
Why it matters: Republican primary voting begins Monday at the Iowa caucus, where Trump will almost certainly win. It seems the only thing stopping him from being the GOP’s nominee is if his legal cases go against him. And even that might not be enough.—QH