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Not just Stormy Daniels: Here are all the ongoing criminal investigations Trump faces

Former President Donald Trump attends an event at the Mar-a-Lago Club on April 4 in Palm Beach, Fla.
Joe Raedle
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Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump attends an event at the Mar-a-Lago Club on April 4 in Palm Beach, Fla.

Updated April 8, 2023 at 7:04 AM ET

The criminal indictment of former President Donald Trump was already historic. But it could be just the start of his legal jeopardy.

The investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, related to hush money payments made in 2016 to the adult film star Stormy Daniels, is one of several criminal inquiries that have circled Trump for months.

Along with the charges in New York, the proceedings from Georgia and the federal Department of Justice have the potential to upend the 2024 presidential race, in which Trump has already announced his candidacy.

Trump has survived plenty of investigations already. Remember the Mueller investigation? How about the Ukraine impeachment inquiry? And he and his allies have already decried the inquiries, calling them politically motivated.

Still, the criminal charges could have a dramatic effect on his 2024 campaign — never before has a former president been indicted, let alone more than once.

First, let's catch up on the investigation that led to indictment in New York:

The Stormy Daniels hush money investigation (Manhattan District Attorney's Office)

The former president's arraignment this week centered on a $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actor, made just before the 2016 election in order to quiet her allegations of an affair with Trump.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, says that she and Trump had an affair at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006. As Trump's campaign for president picked up steam, she offered to sell her story to gossip magazines. In October, executives at the National Enquirer, a publication long friendly to Trump, alerted Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Cohen reached an agreement with Daniels to pay her $130,000 in exchange for keeping her story quiet. Her attorney received the money from Cohen on Oct. 27, less than two weeks before the election.

After Trump was elected president, Cohen was reimbursed with a total of $420,000, to account for taxes and other costs. Some of the reimbursement checks were signed by Trump himself, who has admitted to repaying Cohen for money paid to Daniels.

According to court records, the Trump Organization's top executives falsely identified the reimbursements as a "retainer" for "legal services."

The grand jury ultimately voted to indict Trump in late March on 34 felony counts of business record falsification. He was arraigned on April 4, where he pleaded not guilty.

The case is being brought by Alvin Bragg Jr., who was elected district attorney of New York County in 2021. He took over the case from his predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., who had opened a broad criminal inquiry into Trump's business activities while Trump was still president.

Here are the other investigations Trump is facing:

The Georgia 2020 election interference investigation (Fulton County District Attorney's Office)

The Georgia case centers on the actions of Trump and his allies in the weeks following the 2020 presidential election, as they pressured state officials to undo his loss in the state.

After Trump narrowly lost the state, he repeatedly called Georgia state officials to pressure them to find ways to change the outcome — including the infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, in which he instructed the Republican Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes." Trump also called Gov. Brian Kemp and the state attorney general to urge them to contest the election results.

The inquiry has also examined efforts to send slates of fake electors to the Electoral College to say that Trump won, rather than Joe Biden.

The investigation is led by Fani Willis, the top prosecutor in Fulton County, Ga., where a special grand jury spent eight months hearing from more than 70 witnesses. Their work was finalized in early January. A portion of their report was released last month, but a judge ruled that most of it should remain confidential, for now.

Willis has said decisions on indictments are "imminent." It's not clear if Trump would be among those charged. Possible crimes for him or others could include soliciting election fraud, giving false statements to government bodies and racketeering.

Trump also denies any wrongdoing in Georgia. And in remarks on Tuesday after his arraignment in New York, Trump accused the prosecutor, who is Black, of being racist.

"They've got a local racist Democrat district attorney in Atlanta who is doing everything in her power to indict me over an absolutely perfect phone call," he said. "This fake case was brought only to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election, and it should be dropped immediately."

A pair of investigations into Trump's actions around Jan. 6 and his mishandling of classified documents (the U.S. Department of Justice)

The U.S. Department of Justice has two ongoing investigations into possible criminal actions by Trump. Both probes are being led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last year.

One of the investigations centers on how Trump handled classified documents after his presidency ended. Last June, a lawyer for Trump certified that a "diligent search" for classified documents had been conducted at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and all documents found had been turned over to federal authorities. But two months later, an FBI raid recovered more than 100 additional documents.

(President Biden has been embroiled in his own classified documents scandal after files were found to be improperly stored at his Delaware home and a think tank office in Washington he previously used. A different special counsel has also been appointed to investigate that.)

Smith is also looking at Trump's attempt to interfere with the 2020 election. As part of that probe, prosecutors have interviewed numerous Trump allies and aides. They've also subpoenaed former Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump pressured intensely to overturn the election results during the certification process on Jan. 6. Earlier this month, Pence announced that he would comply with the subpoena.

Prosecutors are also reportedly investigating the finances of Save America, a Trump-affiliated political action committee.

The DOJ investigations are ongoing. There's not much known about when charges, if any, would come. But Trump has already accused Smith, whom he described Tuesday as a "radical left lunatic," of political motivations. And that chorus is sure to grow as the 2024 election draws closer.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Becky Sullivan has reported and produced for NPR since 2011 with a focus on hard news and breaking stories. She has been on the ground to cover natural disasters, disease outbreaks, elections and protests, delivering stories to both broadcast and digital platforms.