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Donald Trump is entangled in a clutch of legal cases over his conduct, his handling of classified documents, and the events before and after the 2020 presidential election.

He became the first former president to face federal criminal charges after saying on Thursday he had been indicted for taking secret government documents to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

The case is the most serious in at least six separate legal battles facing Trump, all of which he has dismissed as politically motivated to obstruct his bid to win re-election to the White House.

“The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society,” he said after being summoned to appear in a federal court in Miami, Florida.

The cases against Donald Trump

Federal criminal case

The federal criminal charges against Trump stem from classified documents seized by federal agents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in August.

Prosecutors on June 9 unveiled 37 felony counts including charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealing documents and making false statements. The maximum term of imprisonment tied to any one charge is 20 years.

Trump had previously returned more than 15 boxes of classified documents to the government, including some marked “top secret”. He later claimed he was “allowed to” take the documents home under the Presidential Records Act, despite that act specifying that presidential records are US property that must be kept in a federal depository

‘Hush money’ case

Trump in March became the first US president to be indicted when the Manhattan district attorney charged him with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. These related to a scheme to prevent the porn star known as Stormy Daniels speaking about an alleged affair with Trump ahead of the 2016 election. The former president pleaded not guilty.

All the counts are linked to payments made to Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, reimbursing him for an alleged $130,000 “hush money” payout made to Daniels. Cohen is expected to be the prosecution’s star witness at the trial. It begins in March 2024

New York civil lawsuit

New York’s attorney general Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit in September 2022 accusing Trump, his older children and the Trump Organization of repeatedly lying to lenders and insurers. The case alleges that Trump’s annual financial statements between 2011 and 2021 included more than 200 false or misleading asset valuations designed to reduce borrowing and insurance costs. James, a Democrat, has said she aims to bar several members of the Trump family from ever running a business in New York again. The trial is set for October 2023

Georgia case

Fani Willis, the District Attorney in Georgia’s Fulton County, is investigating whether the former president and his allies broke state law by attempting to overturn the result of the 2020 election. The probe, which has been running for more than two years, turns on a January 2021 phone call in which Trump asked Georgia’s Republican secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes so he could win the state. Willis earlier this year said her decision on whether to bring indictments based on a special grand jury investigation was “imminent”. Last month she signalled charges may materialise in August

January 6 probe

The federal probe into Trump’s actions following the 2020 election is being led by Jack Smith, the U.S. special counsel who is also overseeing the classified documents case. The wide-ranging investigation has explored Trump’s role in encouraging rioters at the Capitol on January 6, his campaign’s fundraising practices, and an alleged scheme to block lawmakers from certifying Biden’s victory. The grand jury on the case has subpoenaed former senior White House officials including Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s one-time Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

Sexual abuse case

On Thursday Trump asked a federal court in New York to grant him a retrial or reduce damages in a civil case brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleges Trump sexually assaulted her in a department store dressing room in New York in the mid-1990s. A Manhattan jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll a total of $5mn for sexual abuse and defamation after he publicly labelled her claims “a hoax”. Trump’s lawyers have called the damages “excessive.” Carroll’s lawyer said in a statement that Trump’s retrial request was “frivolous”

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