Why Trump May Go to Jail

Here’s the latest information.

Peter Ramirez


Soohee Cho/The Intercept, Getty Images.

One impeachment, twenty six accusations of sexual assault, four thousand lawsuits, two popular vote defeats, two divorces, and $1 billion in debt coming due. By one estimate, a dozen investigations and civil suits are underway.

The numbers do not paint a particularly flattering view for the soon-to-be former president. Shielded from legal consequences due to an interpretation of a Justice Department memo, Trump is facing a reckoning.

Here are the known investigations or legal problems facing Trump on January 20, 2021:

— Under investigation for insurance fraud, criminal tax evasion, grand larceny, and a scheme to defraud in New York State (which is NYS’s equivalent to “federal bank fraud charges”) according to The New York Times.

— Awaiting probe results for campaign finance violations stemming from hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The investigation ended last year, but it is unclear if the prosecutors will file charges once Trump’s presidential immunity vanishes.

— Liable for potential bribery charges for the Ukrainian scandal under Department of Justice § 201 b and c 1–2.

— Personally guaranteeing $421 million in debt, of which over $300 million is coming due within the next four years. The New York Times, when examining the debt, discovered that “Trump might have difficult repaying…the loans without liquidating his assets.”

— Awaiting an IRS decision on a controversial tax credit. Trump claimed a $72.9 million tax refund during the financial crisis. He and the IRS have battled through audits over the legitimacy of the refund, and “an adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.”

When taken individually, the potential legal fallout for Trump appears manageable. A self-pardon can shield him from bribery, for example. He is also no stranger to defaulting on creditors.

But perhaps most problematic for Individual One are the financial crimes perpetrated in New York. The New York State Attorney General and the District Attorney for the Southern District of New York would bring state charges, not federal ones. A federal self-pardon would have no effect.



Peter Ramirez

political science researcher. former valedictorian. reader/writer. host of “Politics Mostly” podcast.