What Trump's legal battles will bring in 2024

Former President Donald Trump, in his usual blue suit and red tie, claps.
Former President Donald Trump. (Reba Saldanha/AP)
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As busy as former President Donald Trump’s courtroom schedule was in 2023, next year will be even busier.

In an effort to delay the criminal and civil cases scheduled to start as the Republican presidential primary season gets underway, Trump’s legal team has mounted furious (and some might argue frivolous) challenges and appeals to each and every aspect of the many cases against him. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Tuesday offers one indication why. It showed that while the hypothetical match-up between Trump and President Biden is now tied, if Trump is “convicted of a serious crime in the coming months” his support among registered voters would tumble by 5 points.

Here are where the seven most prominent cases against Trump stand and what the year ahead promises.

14th Amendment challenges

  • On Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a landmark 4-3 ruling that removes Trump from state primary election ballots in 2024 on the grounds that he is prevented from holding office due to his participation in the attempts to illegally overthrow the 2020 presidential election.

  • Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was added following the Civil War, bars those who have “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.

  • At issue is whether that applies to presidents in addition to lawmakers.

  • But the court also stayed its ruling until Jan. 4, giving Trump’s lawyers time to pursue an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Last month, a lower court judge in Colorado ruled that Trump had “incited insurrection” but allowed him to remain on state ballots because it is unclear whether Section 3 applies to presidents.

  • Legal challenges have been filed or will be filed in other states, leading to a possible patchwork of candidates on ballots in 2024 that make the Supreme Court’s ruling all the more pressing.

New York financial fraud

Judge Arthur F. Engoron in his robe seated at the bench.
Judge Arthur F. Engoron. (Andrew Kelly-Pool/Getty Images)

E. Jean Carroll defamation

  • The second defamation lawsuit brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll is set to begin on Jan. 15.

  • After a jury found that Trump had sexually assaulted and defamed Carroll and ordered him to pay her $5 million in damages, Trump repeated his claims that Carroll had lied about the encounter in a Bergdorf Goodman changing room in the 1990s.

  • Carroll promptly filed suit again.

  • A federal appeals court last week rejected Trump’s argument that presidential immunity protected him from being sued by Carroll.

  • Trump is also seeking to block a key witness, Northwestern University marketing professor Ashlee Humphreys, from testifying in the case. Judge Lewis Kaplan is expected to rule on that motion soon.

Jan. 6 election interference

  • Judge Tanya Chutkan has paused the proceedings in the case that was set to begin on March 4 so that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit can hear Trump’s appeal of her ruling that presidential immunity does not protect him from prosecution in the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

  • Seeking to avoid delays, Smith has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a quick decision on the presidential immunity question following the release of the appeals court ruling.

  • On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers countered that the Supreme Court should not rush a decision on the issue of presidential immunity.

  • In a separate matter, Trump’s attorneys have also asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision to let stand Chutkan’s gag order on Trump that prevents him from attacking witnesses, prosecutors and courtroom staff in the case.

  • The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled earlier this month that his standing as president on Jan. 6, 2021, did not protect Trump from being sued by Capitol Police officers and members of Congress who say he incited the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.

  • Smith has charged Trump with four felonies, including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States, for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

New York hush money

Stephanie Gregory Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, in a black dress with a lacy plunging neckline. Her right upper arm bears a tattoo.
Stephanie Gregory Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels. (Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • Trump is facing 34 felony charges stemming from a $130,000 payment in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and the trial in New York is scheduled to begin on March 25.

  • But Judge Juan Merchan, who Trump contends is biased against him, has also signaled that there could be delays given Trump’s busy legal calendar.

  • Last month, after a federal judge ruled against Trump’s bid to move the case to federal court, Trump’s lawyers announced they were abandoning that appeal.

Classified documents

  • For the moment, Judge Aileen Cannon has yet to postpone the May 20 start date for Trump’s trial on charges that his handling of classified documents violated the Espionage Act and that he obstructed investigators seeking their return.

  • But Cannon, a Trump appointee, rejected a request by Smith’s team to set December deadlines for Trump’s lawyers to identify which classified documents they would use at trial.

  • Instead, Cannon indicated that she will revisit the issue of deadlines on March 1, and many legal experts believe that move signals it is highly likely that Cannon will delay the start of the trial.

Georgia election interference

  • Judge Scott McAfee has yet to schedule a start date for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s sprawling racketeering and election interference trial of Trump and 14 other defendants.

  • Willis has asked the court to start the trial in 2024, while Trump’s lawyers are seeking to delay it until after next year’s presidential election.

  • So far, four of those initially charged with a plot to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia in the 2020 presidential election have pleaded guilty, and more defendants could also take a plea deal in an attempt to avoid prison time.

  • This week, Trump’s lawyers filed a motion to have the charges against the former president dropped because they violate his free speech rights.

  • Last month, Trump attorney Steve Sadow argued that the First Amendment also allowed Trump to push his false claims that the election had been stolen from him.

  • McAfee is expected to rule on those motions soon.