The Cases Against Donald Trump

April 7, 2024

Donald Trump’s post-presidency and his bid for a second term have been dominated by a dizzying number of criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits brought against him in various states, in both federal and state courts.

Some have already been decided, while others are paused by appeals. Most are scheduled to go to trial before the Republican Nominating Convention. Two of the cases might reach the Supreme Court and require expedited decisions. Did Trump violate campaign finance laws? Is he guilty of espionage? Did the events on January 6, 2021, constitute an insurrection that disqualifies him from seeking federal office? Was he engaged in racketeering to defraud the American public and obstruct the certification of electoral votes? Are these cases merely a political ploy to upend his campaign?

On April 7, FOLCS hosted a Conversation on the Trump legal showdown with CNN’s Chief Legal Analyst, Laura Coates; MSNBC legal analyst and Supreme Court attorney, Neal Katyal; and former United States Attorney, Preet Bharara. This program is co-produced with the 92nd Street Y.

View other past events HERE.

Laura Coates
Chief Legal Analyst, CNN

Laura Coates is CNN’s chief legal analyst and anchor of Laura Coates Live, airing weeknights at 11pmET. The show will showcase the day’s most interesting stories with smart, provocative, and thoughtful analysis, while leveraging Coates’ significant experience as a prosecutor and relentless pursuit of the facts. At the intersection between law, politics and pop culture, the high energy show will take the news viewers have already heard and help them to truly understand it.

Emmy nominated Coates joined CNN in 2016 and plays a central role in the network’s extensive legal programming, as well as having a prominent role in major news moments, including CNN’s coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the January 6th hearings and the two impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump, hosting a special entitled White House in Crisis: The Impeachment Inquiry. She routinely covers high-profile criminal prosecutions, including the trial of Alex Murdaugh and former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Coates is also the host of the award-winning daily “The Laura Coates Show” on SiriusXM’s bipartisan P.O.T.U.S. channel where she interviews world leaders and politicians from both sides of the aisle and engages the audience with a lively discussion on the intersection of politics and the law.

Coates has authored two books, You Have the Right: A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police and New York Times bestseller Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight For Fairness.

A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Coates graduated from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs and the University of Minnesota Law School, where she serves on the Board of Advisors, before beginning her legal career in private practice. She practiced law in Minnesota and New York handling cases ranging from intellectual property litigation and First Amendment issues to defamation and media law. Called to public service, she transitioned from private practice to the United States Department of Justice, thriving as a federal prosecutor. She served as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice during the Bush and Obama administrations, specializing in the enforcement of voting rights throughout the country. She also served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, prosecuting a myriad of violent felony offenses including drug trafficking, armed offenses, domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.

She and her husband live in Washington, DC with their two young children.

Preet Bharara
Former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), is a renowned and highly regarded lawyer who is currently a partner at the law firm WilmerHale, focusing on strategic counseling, crisis management, and investigations. Dubbed “one of the most consequential prosecutors in American history” by The New Yorker, Mr. Bharara led some of the most significant criminal and civil litigations brought in the SDNY on behalf of the United States, leaving an indelible impact on the office. He is widely recognized as one of the most effective and transformative US Attorneys to ever lead the SDNY and one of the most credible voices in law enforcement. In May 2009, President Obama nominated Mr. Bharara to become the US Attorney for the SDNY, with Mr. Bharara’s nomination unanimously confirmed by the US Senate in August 2009. While serving as US Attorney from 2009 to 2017—one of the longest-serving appointments in the history of the SDNY—he oversaw more than 200 Assistant US Attorneys, who handled cases involving civil rights violations, cybercrime, domestic and international terrorism, financial fraud, gang violence, narcotics and arms trafficking, organized crime, and public corruption. With Mr. Bharara at the helm, the SDNY saw one of its most productive periods in its history. Before serving as US Attorney, Mr. Bharara was Chief Counsel to Senator Charles Schumer, the current US Senate Majority Leader. Mr. Bharara is an author, a frequent public speaker, and a much-valued voice in the national dialogue. He is a distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the New York University School of Law, and regularly speaks to corporations, legal associations and trade groups on ethics and compliance, culture and diversity issues. He wrote a New York Times best-seller titled Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment and the Rule of Law. Mr. Bharara also shares his perspectives as host of the “Stay Tuned with Preet” and “CAFE Insider” podcasts on the Vox Media Podcast Network. In 2012, Mr. Bharara was featured on the cover of TIME magazine and appeared on its list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Neal Katyal
Law Professor, Georgetown University

Neal Katyal is the Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor of Law at Georgetown University, a best-selling New York Times author, and a Partner at Hogan Lovells. He previously served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States. He has argued 50 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. In the most recent 2022-23 Term, he argued 5 separate cases (nearly 10% of the entire docket), including winning the landmark voting case Moore v. Harper, which Judge Michael Luttig described as “the most important case for American democracy in the almost two and a half centuries since America’s founding.” His cases include successfully striking down the Guantanamo military tribunals, successfully defending the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act, successfully defending the Peace Cross in Maryland, and a landmark personal jurisdiction win for Bristol Meyers Squibb. At the age of 53, he has already argued more Supreme Court cases in U.S. history than has any minority attorney, recently breaking the record held by Thurgood Marshall. His numerous distinctions include: the Edmund Randolph Award (the highest civilian award given by U.S. Department of Justice), The Litigator of the Year by American Lawyer (2017 and 2018, chosen as the sole Grand Prize Winner of all the lawyers in the United States), Named one of the 500 Leading Lawyers by LawDragon (one of 4 lawyers so named for every single year since 2005 to 2023); Appellate MVP by Law360 numerous times; winner of Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Award in two different categories (both private and public law) (2017), one of GQ’s Men of the Year (2017), 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Last Decade Nationwide by National Law Journal (2010), and 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers Over the Last 30 Years by Legal Times (2008). Neal also won the National Law Journal’s pro bono award in 2004. He has appeared on virtually every major American news program, as well as on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. He has also performed on Netflix’s House of Cards and Showtime’s Billions (where he played himself in both series). In 2021, Neal was named a Trustee of Dartmouth College. In 2022, he was named a Trustee of the Whitney Museum in New York City.