by Wisdom Bassey
Donald Trump is a potential slew of civil lawsuits, possible criminal charges, impeachment and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt repayments, after becoming a private citizen.
The former president is no longer legally shielded after leaving office on Wednesday, putting him firmly in the crosshairs of litigators and prosecutors across the country.
He is already facing at least 10 suits, from potential tax fraud to sexual assault allegations – some of which involving Mr Trump personally, others pertaining to his businesses.
Former US federal prosecutors and attorneys told The Telegraph a legal storm is brewing and Mr Trump may not be able to weather it out as he has done in the past.
Tax fraud allegations
A wide-ranging criminal investigation in New York is arguably the most serious legal concern for Mr Trump and his real-estate company, the Trump Organisation.
This case, which is being overseen by Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney, grew out of questions regarding several alleged hush money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 election by then-Trump fixer Michael Cohen to women including porn star Stormy Daniels alleging they had engaged in extramarital affairs with the president.
Trump has denied the affairs. Mr Cohen told Congress, under oath, in 2019 that there was “no doubt” in his mind that his former boss knew about the hush money payments.
But the investigation has been digging much deeper than just the hush money.
Prosecutors have suggested in court filings that the investigation could examine whether the former president and his company engaged in bank fraud, insurance fraud, criminal tax fraud and falsification of business records.
Separately, Letitia James, New York Attorney General is also examining how Trump valued his assets, alleging he repeatedly “inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”
Ms James is investigating the claims to see if they elevate to the level of fraud.
However, some experts say they are not confident the charges will stick against Mr Trump, who has historically shown a willingness to exercise every legal avenue to protect himself and has often succeeded.
“Even assuming the evidence is there, I’m sceptical that New York law will be broad enough to allow prosecutors to bring an air-tight case against Trump,” said Daniel R. Alonso, a former US federal and New York state prosecutor who is now a partner at Buckley LLP.