Following Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 election, the former president has suffered a string of major defeats in the legal system. These began with state and federal courts rejecting his claims of election fraud. His criminal record includes indictments in four different jurisdictions. Most recently, a New York court found Trump in “criminal contempt” for his attacks against jurors and witnesses in his Manhattan criminal proceedings.

Lying About the Election: The Road to January 6th

After losing the 2020 presidential election, the Trump campaign and allied plaintiffs filed 62 lawsuits challenging the results. Sixty-one (61) of the 62 courts rejected their false claims of fraud and other frivolous arguments. Trump won just one of his lawsuits, in Pennsylvania, but that case did not affect the outcome of the election.

Trump has claimed that the courts did not hear the supposed evidence his legal team and others wanted to present. Trump has gone so far as to claim that his team had “proven” the election was stolen, but “no judge, including the Supreme Court of the United States, has had the courage to allow it to be heard.” That is not true.

Thirty (30) of Trump’s 61 election challenges were dismissed after the court held a hearing on the merits. Time and again, judges found that the claims made by Trump’s campaign or other pro-Trump plaintiffs lacked any merit. The January 6th Select Committee cited examples of the courts’ weighing and dismissing Trump’s claims in the key swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. For example, a federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed one lawsuit brought by the Trump campaign, finding that Trump’s lawyers had offered nothing more than “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.”

Trump disregarded the courts’ rulings.

The Aftermath of January 6th

After the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Congress sought accountability. A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives – 232 Members – voted to pass an article of impeachment against Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” Although most Republicans did not vote for impeachment, ten Republicans did. And even some Republicans who voted against the article of impeachment recognized that Trump was culpable. Republican Kevin McCarthy, then Minority Leader, declared on the House floor that Trump “bears responsibility” for the “attack on Congress by mob rioters.”

At the subsequent Senate trial, which took place after Trump left office, a majority – 57 out of 100 Senators – voted to convict Trump, finding him “guilty” of inciting an insurrection. However, this was short of the two-thirds (67 Senators) necessary to secure a conviction. At least 13 Senators who voted “not guilty” were critical of Trump’s conduct but cast their votes for jurisdictional reasons, claiming that the Senate did not have the constitutional right to try a former president. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican Leader, for instance, voted to acquit but stated that Trump “is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.”

Since the Senate’s acquittal, several states and the Department of Justice’s Special Counsel have sought accountability. In Georgia, in Jan. 2023, twenty members of a Special Grand Jury voted to recommend indicting Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election in five states. Only one special grand jury member voted against indicting Trump. Following the special grand jury, a regular grand jury of 23 Georgia residents voted to indict Trump on these charges. Nineteen of Trump’s alleged co-conspirators were also indicted, and several have already accepted plea deals. Those proceedings have been delayed and it is unlikely that Trump will be tried prior to this year’s elections.

State Attorneys General in Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada, have also charged Trump’s alleged co-conspirators for attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Although Trump has not been indicted in those states, he has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in Arizona and Michigan.

The most important criminal case related to Trump’s January 6th conspiracy is the one brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith. In Aug. 2023, a federal grand jury of 16 to 23 Americans voted to indict Trump for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

In Colorado, voters sued to keep Trump off the ballot. In Dec. 2023, four Colorado Supreme Court Justices ruled that Trump should be disqualified from the presidential ballot for engaging in an insurrection. Three Justices dissented on grounds that the procedures were inadequate. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately overturned the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling, finding that only Congress had the power to ban a presidential candidate from the ballot.

Indicted for allegedly willfully retaining national defense information  

In Florida, another 15-plus member grand jury voted to indict Trump for willfully retaining national defense information after he left the presidency. In addition, Trump is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements to authorities. According to the indictment, the documents Trump willfully retained included: “information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”

Trump found liable for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll

While the cases against Trump described above are tied up in the courts, others have already concluded or are currently being tried.

In May 2023, a nine-person Manhattan jury unanimously found Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll. The jury awarded Carroll $5 million in damages, a sum that a federal judge subsequently upheld as reasonable. Then, in Jan. 2024, a second nine-person jury awarded Carroll an additional $83.3 million in damages after finding that Trump repeatedly defamed the writer in his social media posts and other public statements.

The Trump Organization convicted of tax crimes

Another case that has concluded centered on the Trump Organization’s tax crimes. We include it here even though Trump himself was not a named defendant.

In Dec. 2022, a jury of seven New Yorkers convicted two Trump companies of orchestrating a complex tax evasion scheme for more than a decade. The Trump Corporation was convicted of seven felonies, while the Trump Payroll Corp. was convicted of six. According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the two companies conspired to compensate high-level Trump executives with “off the books” payments, thereby evading taxes. 

Trump has been barred from leading any New York company for three years

In Sept. 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit against Trump, his sons, and senior Trump company executives, alleging that they engaged in financial fraud and other illegal conduct. One year later, in Sept. 2023, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur F. Engoron granted Attorney General James’ pretrial motion for summary judgment, finding Trump and his co-defendants had artificially inflated the value of Trump’s assets. In Feb. 2024, Justice Engoron ordered Trump and his co-defendants to pay $450 million in disgorgement (repayment of ill-gotten gains) and pre-judgment interest. In addition, Trump was barred from serving as an officer or director of any company in New York for three years. The case is now on appeal.

The 2020 election influence-hush money case

In Mar. 2023, a grand jury consisting of 15 or more New Yorkers voted to indict Trump for 34 felony counts of falsifying business records as part of an alleged conspiracy to unlawfully influence the 2016 election. That case is ongoing in Manhattan, where Trump became the first former President of the United States to stand criminal trial.

The case is not just about Trump’s alleged hush money payments to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (also known as Stormy Daniels). Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges that Trump and others conspired to keep Ms. Clifford from sharing her story with voters prior to the 2016 presidential election. Trump and others allegedly executed a “catch and kill” scheme to prevent Ms. Clifford and others from coming forward with negative stories just prior to voters casting their ballots in 2016. It was an effort “to unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election,” in the words of the Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan’s case summary.

Just this week, the judge found Trump in criminal contempt for willfully violating a gag order by attacking jurors and witnesses in his criminal proceedings in Manhattan. He warned Trump that future violations could result in incarceration.