Donald Trump is now the subject of four criminal cases at once, while also tracking down another term in the White House.
The former president was indicted for the fourth time in Georgia on August 14, less than a month later Justice Department Special Advisor Jack Smith unveiled federal charges against him over his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
This time, Mr. Trump was indicted by the Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis with 13 counts related to an alleged conspiracy to change the election results in the swing state in the days after his defeat Joe Biden.
He was indicted in a lawsuit along with 18 other defendants, including Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows and Sidney Powell accusation with a total of 41 counts related to extortion.
In a 98-page dossier based on a two-year investigation, Ms. Willis detailed the ways in which Mr. Trump and his co-defendants allegedly conspired to replace voters with fake ones, unlawfully access voter data, harass poll workers and officials to recruit to reject the results.
The former president turned himself in to authorities in Fulton County on August 24, where he was arrested, fingerprinted and mugshot taken.
On August 31, Mr. Trump pleaded not guilty and waived his arraignment – a move that now gives him the opportunity to avoid his first televised trial.
The Georgia case is the fourth indictment against Mr. Trump this year, the latest unprecedented milestone for the first American president to be impeached twice.
Earlier this year, he became the first former or sitting president ever to be prosecuted when a New York grand jury voted in April to indict him over alleged hush money payments to an adult film star Stormy Daniels in the days before the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Trump pleaded not guilty in that case to 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal an alleged plan to illegally influence the national vote by suppressing negative stories about him.
His second indictment this year came in June, when Mr. Smith filed federal charges against Mr. Trump and an adviser following a grand jury investigation. Walt Nauta, with 37 counts related to the unlawful retention of secret documents after the presidency and obstruction of justice. A second Trump employee, Carlos De OliveiraHe was also later accused of being involved in the alleged cover-up.
These allegations stem from a case that began early last year when officials at the National Archives and Records Administration discovered more than 100 classified documents in boxes recovered from Mr. Trump’s private residence, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida .
Mr. Trump’s third accusation, also courtesy of Mr. Smith, relates to the 2020 election and his alleged role in incitement Capitol riot dated January 6, 2021 followed on August 1 and since then has been followed by Ms. Willis’s fourth in Georgia.
He also faces a $250 million civil lawsuit from the New York Attorney General Letitia Jameswhose investigation allegedly uncovers “years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth…to defraud banks and the people of the great state of New York.”
He was also held liable for sexual abuse Elle Magazine columnist E Jean Carroll Decided by a civil jury in Manhattan earlier this year.
Ms Carroll, 79, sued the former president for attacking her and then “destroying” her reputation when he accused her of lying about the encounter and claimed she was not his “type”.
Mr. Trump remains the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president in 2024 and has insisted he will stay in the race regardless of the outcome of the criminal cases against him.
He has also relied on news of the investigations and indictments to raise money for his campaign, which has brought in millions of dollars from sympathetic supporters who have bought into his narrative of “political persecution.”
But with possible convictions and sentences in federal and state indictments and multimillion-dollar lawsuits, what will all this rolling chaos mean for Mr. Trump’s political future?
Can Trump still run for president?
In short, yes. There are no restrictions in the U.S. Constitution that could prevent someone who has been charged or convicted of a crime — or even is currently serving a prison sentence — from running for or winning the presidency.
Looking ahead to his upcoming calendar, Mr. Trump will have many trial dates that coincide with his campaign. Judge Chutkan has set the start date for his trial on charges of interfering with the 2020 federal election on March 4, 2024 in Washington DC.
His hush money trial is scheduled for March 25, 2024 in Manhattan.
Judge Cannon has chosen May 20, 2024 as the start date for Mr. Trump’s classified documents trial in Florida.
Even if Mr. Trump were tried and convicted in one of the so-called “fast track trials,” he could run his entire presidential campaign from a prison cell.
What is far less clear is what would happen if he won in this scenario.
Just as there are no restrictions in the Constitution on a person running while under impeachment, there is also no explanation for what should happen if they win.
There is nothing in the founding document that would automatically grant Mr. Trump a reprieve from prison time, other than the likelihood that it would be on federal charges if they were still pending at the time of his second inauguration over the Justice Department’s refusal to appoint an incumbent to prosecute presidents should be dropped.
In Ms. Carroll’s case, Mr. Trump faced no prison time because it was a civil case.
State-level charges like those filed by the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg or Ms. Willis in Georgia are far trickier and would be outside the populist’s potential presidential pardon power if they resulted in a conviction.
Should he be convicted on state charges and win the vote in 2024, it would likely lead to a massive legal battle over whether there is a way for the former president to escape his prison sentence.
Should Mr. Trump fail to avoid this outcome, it would almost certainly result in his impeachment (for a historic third time) or his removal via the 25th Amendment, which allows the Cabinet to remove any president who fails to fulfill his duties can comply.
There are many duties and features of the presidency that he simply could not perform from a prison cell, such as reviewing classified materials, to name just one.
A possible conviction of Mr. Trump is still a long way off and little more than a remote possibility.
But the conversations he began in his bid for the presidency, despite facing four criminal charges, have already brought parts of theoretical U.S. constitutional law to a much more real place than many experts ever thought they would ever see would.
What did Trump say about the investigation?
The former president has repeatedly called the numerous investigations against him, including the Jan. 6 investigation, a politically motivated “hoax” and an attempt to “steal” the 2024 election from him.
On August 1, Trump called Mr. Smith “deranged” and the federal government filed a “false indictment.”
“The lawlessness of these persecutions of President Trump and his supporters is reminiscent of 1930s Nazi Germany, the former Soviet Union and other authoritarian, dictatorial regimes. “President Trump has always followed the law and the Constitution and has sought the advice of many highly qualified attorneys,” Mr. Trump’s campaign said in a statement.
On August 3, the former commander in chief left his arraignment in Washington after pleading not guilty to 2020 election charges, telling the press: “If you look at what is happening, this is a persecution of a political opponent .”
“This should never have happened in America. This is the pursuit of the person who is leading the Republican primaries by a very, very large majority, with Joe Biden leading by a wide margin. So if you can’t beat them, you pursue them or pursue them yourself.”
In response to his Georgia lawsuit, Trump claimed it was “wrong” and said it was a violation of his First Amendment rights. Since then, he has speculated on Truth Social that this bail, set at $200,000, was intended to prevent him from fleeing to Russia.
This story was updated on August 31, 2023 to reflect new developments