A short guide to Donald Trump’s many legal woes

US Capitol Police; Harry Dunn; Daniel Hodges; Michael Fanone; Aquilino GonellUS Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges, DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone and US Capitol Police officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonell testify during the Select Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, during their first hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2021. (CHIP SOMODEVILLA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)Image_placeholder

Status: Trump’s appeal pending

Case type: Criminal

Next: Appeals court ruling TBD

Parties: DOJ Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, 2 Capitol officers and House Democrats, Trump
Judge: Amit Mehtma
Stakes: Up to 20 years in prison, fines up to $250,000, financial restitution for victims. 

On Mar. 8, Mehtma — a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Columbia, and Barack Obama appointee — denied Trump’s motion to dismiss the case, and said Trump had to turn over any evidence to prosecutors. Mehtma said Trump’s Jan. 6 speech (in which he told supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn election results) was “likely to incite imminent lawless action.”

On Mar. 29, Trump’s lawyers filed an appeal in the D.C. Circuit, claiming it was an “overreach” and the evidence and documents are protected by attorney-client privilege. The three-judge appeals panel — Cornelia Pillard, Michelle Childs, Florence Pan (appointed by Obama, then two by Biden respectively) — haven’t said when they’ll rule on the appeal. Some have speculated that the ruling could come in the next few months, but its not enough to hang your hat on. And if kicked back to the lower court, the case could take years to resolve. 

Meanwhile, four members of the Proud Boys neo-fascist group who participated in the riots were convicted in May, raising the stakes for the case. 


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