‘He’s done’: How Donald Trump’s legal woes just got a whole lot worse | Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s legal perils have become insurmountable and could shatter the former US president’s hopes of an election-winning comeback, according to political analysts and legal experts.

On Wednesday, Trump and three of his adult children were accused of lying to tax collectors, lenders and insurers in a “staggering” fraud scheme that routinely mislisted the value of his properties in order to enrich himself.

The civil lawsuit, filed by the New York Attorney General, came as the FBI investigates Trump’s possession of sensitive government documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and a special grand jury in Georgia considers whether he and others attempted the to influence state election officials after his defeat there by Joe Biden.

The former US president has repeatedly hinted that he plans to return to the White House in 2024. But the cascade of criminal, civil and congressional investigations could still derail that bid.

Trump indicted by New York Attorney General for fraud – video

“He’s ready,said Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University in Washington, who has accurately predicted every presidential election since 1984. “He has too many burdens, too much baggage to run again, even if he escapes prison, he escapes bankruptcy. I’m not sure if he’ll escape prison.”

After a three-year investigation, Letitia James, the New York Attorney General, alleged that Trump had made fraudulent statements of his assets and false asset valuations to obtain and meet loans, get insurance benefits and pay lower taxes. Descendants Don Jr, Ivanka and Eric were also named as defendants.

During a press conference, James joked about the title of Trump’s 1987 memoir and business how-to book, The Art of the Deal.

“This investigation revealed that Donald Trump has been guilty of illegal conduct for years to inflate his assets, to deceive banks and the people of the great state of New York. Claiming that you have money that you don’t is not ‘the art of the deal’. It’s the art of stealing,’ she said.

Her office demanded that the former president pay at least $250 million in fines and that his family be banned from running businesses in the state.

James cannot criminally prosecute Trump in this civil investigation, but she said she referred charges of criminal fraud to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and to the Internal Revenue Service.

Trump reiterated his go-to defense that the suit is “another witch hunt” against him and again referred to James, who is black, as racist, via his Truth Social platform, also calling her “a con man who campaigned to Trump’s platform, despite the city being one of the world’s crime and murder disasters under her care!”

But critics said the lawsuit goes to the heart of Trump’s self-portrait as a successful billion-dollar real estate developer, host of reality TV show The Apprentice, and vowed to apply that business acumen to the presidency.

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, noted that the civil component “includes things of particular importance to Trump and his family and his organization, namely their ability to defraud the public, defraud banks, defraud insurance companies, cheat and subsist through corruption. Without all that corruption, the entire Trump empire is involved in something like a meltdown.”

Tribe added: “Trump is probably more into this sort of thing than wearing an orange jumpsuit and maybe answering a criminal charge… In practice, this will probably cause more sleepless nights for Mr. Trump than almost anything else.”

No previous former president has faced investigations so numerous and so serious. Last month, FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago and seized official documents labeled Top Secret, Secret and Confidential. Trump may face charges of violating the Espionage Act, obstructing a federal investigation, or mishandling sensitive government data.

As so often during his corporate career, Trump tried to throw sand in the legal gears. He bought time by convincing a court to appoint a judge, Raymond Dearie, as a special master to review the documents. But so far, Dearie seems far from a yes man. On Tuesday, he warned Trump’s lawyers: “My view is that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

The ex-president is also facing a grand jury investigation by the state in Georgia over attempts to undermine that state’s 2020 election result.

The Justice Department is investigating its role in the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol by a gang of its supporters in order to prevent the certification of Biden’s election victory. Her efforts have been spurred by the parallel investigation of a House committee, whose hearings resume next week.

In addition, the Trump Organization — which operates hotels, golf courses and other properties around the world — will appear in court next month in a criminal case alleging it had plans to give untaxed benefits to senior executives, including its longtime financial chief Allen. Weisselberg, who took more than $1.7 million in extras alone.

In a further setback on Wednesday, arguably Trump’s worst day ever of legal defeats, a federal appeals court allowed the Justice Department to resume reviewing classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago as part of the criminal investigation.

The former president, meanwhile, insisted he had done nothing wrong in keeping the documents. “There doesn’t have to be a trial, as I understand it,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “If you’re the President of the United States, you can declassify by simply saying, ‘It’s declassified.’

“Even by thinking about it, because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you’re sending it… There may be a process, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Despite all this, Trump has laid the groundwork for a possible comeback campaign and has accused the Biden administration of targeting him to undermine his political prospects.

When asked by a conservative radio host what would happen if he were indicted over classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, Trump replied: “I think you’re going to have problems in this country like we may never have seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”

Kurt Bardella, an adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said: “If the best defense you have for your behavior is, if you hold me accountable, there will be violence, which sounds like someone who has nothing to do with a public service.” or be out of jail.”

Bardella expressed hope that Trump would finally be held accountable. “Everything about Donald Trump has always been about the grit. It was always about the scam. And now his exposure is near.”

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