Donald Trump is facing a “tsunami of credible legal threats” as he prepares to answer questions in New York over his conduct, a week after becoming the first ex-president to be charged with a crime.
Trump pleaded not guilty in a case arising from a hush money payment to an adult film star
He’s expected back in the city where he made his name to give a deposition in a separate civil case alleging that he and three of his adult children falsified Trump Organization accounts in a years-long fraud to enrich themselves.
Trump’s time-honored strategy of delay, denial, and distraction is being put to the test as he faces these converging legal battles. He has fired off new filings and digressions in some of the many cases against him and his allies in the Republican House majority have stepped up their efforts to shield him. His lawyers are asking a judge to delay for one month a civil sexual assault and defamation trial brought by former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, which was slated to begin later this month.
Trump’s lawyers are also waiting to find out whether he will be indicted in special counsel probes into his hoarding of classified documents and his behavior leading up to the US Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021.
Trump and supporters involved in the democracy-damaging chicanery following the 2020 election still don’t know whether they will be charged in yet another investigation, this one in Georgia, over his attempt to find just enough votes to try to steal President Joe Biden’s victory in the swing state.
The incredibly personal and legal pressure on Trump also poses the question of how he can fully concentrate on the all-consuming effort of running a presidential campaign. Being a defendant in multiple legal cases would mean that court dates, not campaign rallies, dictate much of his schedule.
Trump is not alone in staring down a legal imbroglio
Thursday is the first day of jury selection in the Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, which could feature testimony from Fox anchors and media baron Rupert Murdoch.
Dominion, a voting technology company, says the right-wing network trashed its reputation when its top talent promoted false claims that Dominion machines rigged the 2020 election. In the run-up to the trial, Fox has faced severe embarrassment following the release of text messages that showed some of its most famous opinion hosts scoffing at Trump’s claims, which they nevertheless promoted on air, and top executives warning that telling the truth to viewers would be bad for business.
Trump’s trip back to New York on Thursday follows a deposition he gave Attorney General Letitia James’ office last year before the suit against him and the Trump Organization was filed, in which he cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to more than 400 questions.
His position is more nuanced now since in a civil case, if a defendant takes the Fifth, a jury can make an “adverse inference” against them.