Why was Donald Trump arrested? What to know about his 4 indictments


Donald Trump has been criminally charged four times this year.

The former president, who is also seeking his second term in the White House, faces state-level cases in New York and Georgia. In New York, he’s accused of a hush money scheme, and in Georgia, he’s accused of election interference in the 2020 presidential race.

But those are separate from the two federal cases he faces, stemming from investigations launched in Washington. One focuses on his handling of classified documents after his term as president, and the other is a broader look at his efforts during the 2020 presidential election in crucial states across the country − not just Georgia.

To be clear, Trump has denied wrongdoing in all of the cases, and he has claimed without evidence that prosecutors and officials in Washington, Georgia and New York are trying to target his reelection bid.

Do you need a refresher on Trump’s four indictments in 2023? Here’s what you need to know.

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New York hush money case

Trump was indicted in March on 34 felony counts by a Manhattan grand jury, making him the first former U.S. president to be indicted in history. He’s accused of seeking to conceal hush money payments made to two women: Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. They both allege that they had sex with Trump before the 2016 presidential election.

The case centers on Trump arranging for his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to pay the women − $130,000 to Daniels and $150,000 to McDougal to silence them over their claims. Trump’s organization would allegedly pay Cohen reimbursements under the guise of legal fees.

The case was brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump in April pleaded not guilty to the dozens of counts against him. If Trump is found guilty, he could face up to four years in prison.

Federal Mar-a-Lago classified documents case

Trump was indicted in June on 37 felony counts for allegedly storing hundreds of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after his term in the White House. Charges include willful retention of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice and more.

Trump was arrested and pleaded not guilty to the counts in a courtroom in Miami, Florida. Special counsel Jack Smith was appointed last year to oversee the investigation into Trump and the classified documents.

But Smith brought three more charges against Trump in a superseding indictment in July accusing the former president of trying to destroy security footage of rooms where boxes of classified information were kept, among other allegations.

Some of the top charges against Trump carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

Federal 2020 election, Jan. 6 Capitol attack case

A federal grand jury indicted Trump last month for allegedly trying to steal the 2020 presidential election from President Joe Biden. Smith’s indictment against Trump is wide-ranging, spanning from pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to reject the results of the election in Congress to attempting to put forth fake electors in pivotal swing states.

Trump was technically charged with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States; Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding; Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding; and Conspiracy Against Rights.

Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges, though he has called for the trial to be moved from Washington, D.C., a heavily Democratic city, to a place such as West Virginia.

The former president faces a maximum of 55 years in prison if he’s convicted on all counts, according to Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya.

Georgia 2020 election case

Trump was arrested late last month at Georgia’s notorious Fulton County Jail on charges that he tried to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged Trump under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, Act. It’s a law that has historically been used to target organized crime, drug operations and more. Trump is just one of 19 defendants in the state indictment, along with his former attorney Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and more.

Racketeering charges in Georgia can carry criminal penalties of up to 20 years in prison, and it’s just one of the allegations Trump faces in the state.

Trump pleaded not guilty in a court filing last month, avoiding a scheduled hearing.

Contributing: Sudiksha Kochi, Bart Jansen and David Jackson, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What was Donald Trump arrested for? Is he in jail after indictments?



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