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Former President Donald Trump, his attorney Todd Blanche, right, and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. rear, arrive for Trump's trial at Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 9, 2024, in New York. (Victor J. Blue/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

Candidate Donald Trump: A presidential campaign littered with lawsuits

Former President Donald Trump, his attorney Todd Blanche, right, and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. rear, arrive for Trump’s trial at Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 9, 2024, in New York. (Victor J. Blue/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

It seems when one lawsuit ends, another one begins, at least for Donald Trump; though it hasn’t been without strategized delays or hopeful exceptions. How can having a presidential candidate with a rolling list of felony charges possibly benefit the country?

Back in February, days before a verdict was reached in the E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit, the former president’s attorney attempted an effort to cite a conflict of interest with the presiding judge on the case before ultimately backing off the claim.

That was followed by a jury issuance of a $83.3 million verdict in favor of Carroll, the majority of which was allocated to punitive damages. Trump made a statement at the time via social media calling the verdict “absolutely ridiculous” and his intent to appeal stating, “They have taken away all First Amendment Rights.”

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    Prior to this lawsuit, Trump was already found liable for defamation against Carroll while he was president.

    During that time, he mocked her allegations of sexual abuse against her.

    Shortly thereafter, Trump faced yet another judgment day. This time with a civil fraud lawsuit in which he was eventually ordered to pay $354.9 million in penalties for net worth fraudulence.

    New York Justice Arthur Engoron ruled last September that Trump repeatedly committed fraud, over the span of a decade, when overvaluing his real estate to gain lender and insurer benefits. The general argument from Trump and his lawyers was everyone involved was happy to do business.

    What many deemed a “death penalty” for his business endeavors doesn’t seem to faze Trump. He’s taken to social media several times to discuss his feelings about the trial being a “political persecution” among other claims.

    For those keeping a tally

    To add to defamation and fraud, the trials continue for Trump headed into spring. His first criminal trial is currently underway in New York, where he is alleged to have falsified business records ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Other felony counts include Espionage Act violations, racketeering, and attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

    An appeals court panel originally ruled unanimously that Trump is not immune from prosecution, and the Supreme Court is presently considering the question. Though he and his attorneys have tried every angle to delay proceedings (to stretch beyond November). The election interference trial was scheduled to begin on March 25, 2024, though as of April 25, 2024, the Supreme Court indicated the case would not likely go to trial before the election.

    Beyond that, Trump faces a trial in Florida brought by special counsel Jack Smith — although that trial, originally set for May, appears to have been suspended indefinitely. Smith has accused Trump of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Florida estate and obstructing FBI retrieval efforts of them. Another trial date is yet to be set in Fulton County, Georgia, where the district attorney has charged Trump with trying to subvert the 2020 election in that state.

    This all brings us to the present moment as Trump stands trial for 34 felony counts for falsifying business records in relation to a payoff to porn star, Stormy Daniels, who claimed she had a sexual encounter with him. Justice Juan Merchan denied Trump’s legal team’s motion to dismiss and imposed a gag order on Trump, barring him from publicly commenting on parties involved with the case.

    Suffice it to say, he has a busy schedule.

    Bad timing at best for a presidential run

    Before and after his many court appearances, he continues pursuing the presidency in the 2024 election year. Regardless of those loyal to his political pursuits, it’s difficult to ignore that his focus may be elsewhere. It doesn’t appear to be the best time to step into a leadership role when so many conflicting legal problems continue to pop up. What is inflated as “charges” against him on social media is one thing, but charges brought against him in a court of law with presented evidence cannot and should not be ignored.

    Trump likes to turn the tables and attempt to drive the attention away from his wrongdoing, and instill doubt about the lawsuits in those who still follow him. It’s tough to avoid attention though when news of his felony charges is scrolling across the bottom of TV screens and across social media feeds daily.

    There’s a possibility he will still be caught up in his court proceedings when Election Day rolls around, a likelihood he and his legal team are doing everything to avoid. If by chance, he is reelected president, it’s presumed he would try to pardon his federal crimes.

    When considering unprecedented actions from former presidents, this may be what he goes down in the history books for, which isn’t exactly the kind of legacy anyone, or America, should leave behind. We deserve better than him.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of his lawsuits continue to unfold and how he fares on the campaign trail. The lawsuits are distractions Trump has brought upon himself, though he wants to convince people otherwise. While the hope is to have a national leader focused on the country they are serving, it’s on the ballot that America may have one interested in serving himself.

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