World Inside

What legal woes does Trump face?

Publish: 10:14 AM, 10 Aug, 2022


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Former US President Donald Trump said on Monday that FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Law enforcement officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Trump's claims.

The focus of the investigation was not immediately clear. Here is a look at some of the probes and lawsuits that Trump faces.

MISSING NATIONAL RECORDS

The US National Archives and Records Administration in February notified Congress that it had recovered about 15 boxes of White House documents from Trump's Florida home, some of which contained classified materials.

The US House of Representatives Oversight Committee at that time said it was expanding an investigation into Trump's actions and asked the Archives to turn over additional information. Trump previously confirmed that he had agreed to return certain records to the Archives, calling it "an ordinary and routine process."

JAN 6 ATTACK ON THE US CAPITOL

A congressional panel probing January 6, 2021, assault by Trump supporters on the US Capitol is working to build a case that he broke the law in trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

Vice chair Liz Cheney has said the committee could make multiple referrals to the Justice Department seeking criminal charges against Trump, who accuses the panel of conducting a sham investigation. 

In a March 2 court filing, the committee detailed Trump's efforts to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to either reject slates of electors for Democrat Joe Biden, who won the election, or delay a congressional count of those votes.

Trump's efforts likely violated a federal law making it illegal to "corruptly" obstruct any official proceeding, or attempt to do so, said David Carter, the California federal judge overseeing the casE

In the March 2 filing, the committee said it was likely that Trump and others conspired to defraud the United States. That law criminalizes any effort by two or more people to interfere with governmental functions "by deceit, craft or trickery."

In addition to Trump's efforts to pressure Pence, the committee cited his attempts to convince state election officials, the public and members of Congress that the 2020 election was stolen, even though several allies told him there was no evidence of fraud. 

The committee cannot charge Trump with federal crimes. That decision must be made by the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

If the Justice Department brings charges, prosecutors' main challenge will be proving that Trump acted with corrupt intent, experts said. 

Trump could defend himself by arguing he sincerely believed that he won the election and that his well-documented efforts to pressure Pence and state election officials were not meant to obstruct Congress or defraud the United States, but to protect the election's integrity.

Trump also could be charged with "seditious conspiracy," a rarely used statute that makes it illegal to overthrow the US government by force to prove this, prosecutors would need to show Trump conspired with others to use force, said Barbara McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan and a former federal prosecutor.

Multiple participants in the January 6 assault on the Capitol have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

WIRE FRAUD

Democrats said in a June hearing of the January 6 committee that Trump, a Republican, raised some $250 million from supporters to advance fraudulent claims in court that he won the election, but steered much of the money elsewherE

This raises the possibility that he could be charged with wire fraud, which prohibits obtaining money on "false or fraudulent pretenses," legal experts said.

GEORGIA ELECTION TAMPERING PROBE

A special grand jury was selected in May to consider evidence in a Georgia prosecutor's inquiry into Trump's alleged efforts to influence the state's 2020 election results. 

The investigation focuses in part on a phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, on January 2, 2021.

Trump asked Raffensperger to "find" the votes needed to overturn Trump's election loss, according to an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post.

Legal experts said Trump may have violated at least three Georgia criminal election laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, and intentional interference with performance of election duties.

Trump could argue he was engaging in free speech and did not intend to influence the election.

NEW YORK CRIMINAL PROBE

Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, has been investigating whether Trump's family real estate company misrepresented the values of its properties to get favourable bank loans and lower tax bills.

Two top lawyers who had been leading the investigation resigned in February, throwing the probe's future into question, but Bragg's office has said it is ongoing. 

Trump has denied wrongdoing and said the probe is politically motivated. Bragg is a Democrat.

DOES A PRESIDENTIAL RUN MEAN TRUMP CAN'T BE PROSECUTED?

No. While the Justice Department has a decades-old policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, there is no such protection for presidential candidates. Prosecuting a candidate could nonetheless have political implications, said Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University.

"I'm not aware of any constitutional reason why a presidential candidate would have any kind of criminal immunity."

NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL CIVIL PROBE

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation examining whether the Trump Organization inflated real estate values. Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, agreed to testify in the probe starting on July 15. 

Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the investigation politically motivated. James is a Democrat.

E JEAN CARROLL'S DEFAMATION CASE

E Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine writer, sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after the then-president denied her allegation that he raped her in the 1990s in a New York City department storE He accused her of lying to drum up sales for a book.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan is poised to rule on whether Carroll's lawsuit should be dismissed. 

A lawyer for Trump has argued that he is protected by a federal law that makes government employees immune from defamation claims.

- Reuters



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World Inside

Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in the West Bank

Publish: 04:46 PM, 03 Oct, 2022


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Israeli forces said they shot and killed two Palestinians in the West Bank who they said tried to carry out a car-ramming attack on troops conducting a security operation, while a Palestinian official described the incident as an "execution".

The latest in a near-daily series of security incidents in the West Bank took place before dawn in the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah.

The Israeli military said soldiers went into the camp to apprehend an individual suspected of "terror activity".

During the operation, "two suspects attempted to carry out a ramming attack against IDF soldiers. The soldiers responded with fire and neutralized the two suspects", said the Israeli military.

The account was disputed by a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who said the troops had carried out an "execution."

"Such a reckless policy will not bring security or stability for anyone," said the spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

Awatef Basbous, the mother of one of the dead men, said her son had been going to his job at a bakery when he was shot.

"It never crossed my mind they would kill him on his way to work," Awatef Basbous said, as she met women neighbours who came to the house to pay their respects.

More than 70 Palestinians have been killed this year as Israel has stepped its operations in West Bank cities following a series of deadly Palestinian street attacks in Israel earlier in the year.

Raids by Israeli security forces and clashes with militant groups in West Bank cities like Nablus and Jenin have escalated as Israel approaches a general election on Nov. 1.

Initial media reports spoke of three casualties in the incident and one witness, who declined to be identified, said he had seen troops carrying three bodies away from the site. However Israeli military spokesmen said there were only two casualties.

- Reuters


Israeli forces   Palestinians   West Bank  


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World Inside

Svante Pääbo wins Nobel Prize in Medicine

Publish: 03:50 PM, 03 Oct, 2022


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Scientist Svante Paabo won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries “concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” the award-giving body said on Monday.

The prize, arguably among the most prestigious in the scientific world, is awarded by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($900,357).

It is the first of this year’s batch of prizes.


Svante Pääbo   Nobel Prize   Medicine   2022  


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World Inside

Road accident in India leaves 27 dead: reports

Publish: 10:57 AM, 02 Oct, 2022


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A tractor pulling a trolley packed with pilgrims returning from a shrine in India overturned Saturday and plunged into a pond, killing as many as 27 people, Indian media reported.

The accident in the city of Kanpur in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh left another 22 people injured, reported The Times of India.

Other news media gave slightly lower death tolls.

The tractor-trolley was bringing Hindu pilgrims back from the Chandrika Devi temple, reports said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences in a tweet.

"Distressed by the tractor-trolley mishap took place in Kanpur. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones and prayers with the injured," Modi said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said this kind of vehicle -- a tractor pulling a large cart -- should be used only to transport farm goods and freight, not people, The Hindu said.

"The road accident in Kanpur district is very heart-wrenching," he said.

– BSS/AFP


India   Road Crash  


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World Inside

Germany to supply Ukraine with air defence system in days

Publish: 09:53 AM, 02 Oct, 2022


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Germany will deliver the first of four advanced IRIS-T air defence systems to Ukraine in the coming days to help ward off drone attacks, its defence minister Christine Lambrecht said during an unannounced visit to Odessa on Saturday.

As air raid sirens sounded in the port city above, Lambrecht held talks with her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov in an underground bunker. Lambrecht had extended a visit to nearby Moldova for the meeting.

"In a few days, we will deliver the very modern IRIS-T air defence system," she told ARD television. "It is very important for drone defence in particular."

Ukraine has been seeing more attacks from Iranian-made kamikaze drones in recent weeks, costing lives and causing serious damage to infrastructure.

It first emerged in May that Berlin was considering sending the IRIS-T surface-to-air defence system, which costs 150 million euros ($147 million) apiece.

The German armed forces themselves do not currently own the system, reckoned among the world's most advanced.

Earlier, meeting her Moldovan counterpart Anatolie Nosatii in Chisinau, she urged Western countries not to be deterred from arming Ukraine by threats that Russia could use nuclear weapons.

"We have to be very careful," she said. "But we mustn't let ourselves be paralysed."

Germany is facing calls to step up its support for Ukraine, including by sending offensive weapons such as the modern tanks Kyiv says it needs to take the fight to Russian forces.

Berlin has so far resisted such calls, arguing that such moves would escalate the situation and pointing out that no other country has so far sent tanks more modern than old Soviet stock sent by former Warsaw Pact countries.

- Reuters


Germany   Ukraine   Air defence systems  


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World Inside

Turkey rejects Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territory

Publish: 04:47 PM, 01 Oct, 2022


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Turkey's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it rejects Russia's annexation of four regions in Ukraine, adding the decision is a "grave violation" of international law.

Turkey, a NATO member, has conducted a diplomatic balancing act since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. Ankara opposes Western sanctions on Russia and has close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, its Black Sea neighbours. It has also criticised Russia's invasion and sent armed drones to Ukraine.

The Turkish ministry said on Saturday it had not recognised Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding that it rejects Russia's decision to annex the four regions, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

"This decision, which constitutes a grave violation of the established principles of international law, cannot be accepted," the ministry said.

"We reiterate our support to the resolution of this war, the severity of which keeps growing, based on a just peace that will be reached through negotiations," it added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of the regions on Friday, promising Moscow would triumph in its "special military operation" even as he faced a potentially serious new military reversal.

His proclamation came after Russia held what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine. Western governments and Kyiv said the votes breached international law and were coercive and non-representative.

The United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions in response.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy said on Friday his country had submitted a fast-track application to join the NATO military alliance and that he would not hold peace talks with Russia while Putin was still president.

- Reuters


Russia   Ukraine   Annexation   Turkey  


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