2022 is shaping up to be a legal nightmare for Trumpworld. Here's a timeline of upcoming court cases and legal obstacles.
Former President Donald Trump has had a number of surprising legal victories ever since he left the White House — though his greatest potential battles are still looming. In November, Summer Zervos, who had accused Trump of sexual assault following her appearance on "The Apprentice," dropped her lawsuit against him before he was forced to sit for a deposition. At around the same time, a New York state judge dismissed a lawsuit from Michael Cohen seeking to have the Trump Organization reimburse his legal fees for work he did on Trump's behalf. But greater dangers loom. The Trump Organization is the subject of a sprawling investigation from the Manhattan district attorney's office and the New York attorney general's office into alleged financial misconduct. In Atlanta, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is weighing charges over his conduct in the 2020 election. Those investigations are proceeding as the Justice Department comes up on the five-year deadline to prosecute Trump over acts of possible obstruction that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller III scrutinized as part of his investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is sending a steady stream of Trump's White House records to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. And Trump — along with many of his allies — face federal investigations and lawsuits stemming from the January 6 insurrection. Expect the judges in those cases to set court dates later this year. While Trump mulls whether to run for president again in 2024, 2022 is shaping up to be a year of legal headaches for the former president and his associates. Here's a timeline of the threats Trumpworld faces. February A Florida collectibles dealer linked to the federal sex-trafficking investigation into GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz pleaded guilty to drug charges and conspiracy to commit fraud. Gaetz is an outspoken Trump ally who has remained close to people in the former president's orbit. Joe Ellicott, known as "Big Joe," was named in a December 2020 grand jury subpoena that also listed Gaetz and former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, who agreed to cooperate with federal authorities as part of a guilty plea in which he admitted to sex trafficking and other charges. The 2020 subpoena said the grand jury is investigating alleged crimes "involving commercial sex acts with adult and minor women, as well as obstruction of justice," Politico reported. Like Greenberg, Ellicott has been cooperating with prosecutors in the Gaetz investigation for months. His guilty plea requires him to "cooperate fully with the United States in the investigation and prosecution of other people," according to court documents. February 17 — A Washington, D.C., court is set to hold a hearing on the D.C. attorney general's lawsuit against Donald Trump's 2017 inaugural committee. In November, Trump notched a partial win when the judge dismissed part of the suit, but other elements of the case — such as the attorney general's claim that the committee illegally misused funds — will be moving forward. The hearing is expected to set a schedule for the discovery process before it goes to trial. March Trump's lawyers pushed for months in federal courts to keep the Biden administration from turning over his White House records to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. At every turn, the former president lost, with the Supreme Court effectively rejecting his claim of executive privilege. Now, with the National Archives and Records Administration already turning over documents, Trump is facing a decision of how — or whether — to proceed with his legal challenge. An answer could come in early March. Just days after the Supreme Court declined to take up Trump's case, lawyers for the House and Biden administration asked to have until February 4 to make their latest response to the former president's legal arguments. The Justice Department and House later asked for an extension to March 7. In light of the Supreme Court decision and subsequent product of records to the House committee, the lawyers said they had agreed that the best course was to extend the deadline so that Trump "can determine his next steps." March 29 — Joel Greenberg, a former Gaetz associate, is expected to go before a judge for his sentencing hearing. Greenberg could potentially be a key witness in the Justice Department investigation into the lawmaker. The Gaetz associate has already pleaded guilty to several charges, including sex trafficking. Gaetz is one of Trump's most loyal supporters. April Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan on August 22, 2021, in New York City.James Devaney/GC ImagesApril 4 — The second special grand jury empaneled by the Manhattan district attorney's office in its criminal investigation into the Trump Organization's finances is set to wrap up by this date. Another indictment in the investigation — or decision from prosecutors to not indict — could come shortly afterward. May Then President-elect Donald Trump boards the elevator at Trump Tower in New York City on January 16, 2017.Dominick Reuter/AFP via Getty ImagesMay 2 — Jury selection is scheduled to begin in a trial regarding a civil lawsuit brought by a group of protesters against the Trump Organization. The protesters sued in 2015, alleging the company's security guards roughed them up during a demonstration outside Trump Tower. A video of a deposition Trump was forced to take this past fall is expected to be shown at the trial as evidence. May 2 — A special grand jury for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' investigation into Trump will be impaneled on May 2 and continue for up to 12 months. This announcement on Monday comes after Willis formally requested to have a special grand jury that would give her the subpoena power to obtain documents and compel witnesses to testify. June Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis walks past boxes of criminal case files at her office in Atlanta on Feb. 24, 2021.AP Photo/John BazemoreJune — Willis told the Associated Press in January that she is expecting to decide whether to charge Trump in Fulton County, Georgia, by the first half of 2022. June 29 — Litigants will get to see a copy of Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" tapes. June 29 marks the deadline of discovery in a lawsuit brought by a group of people who say the Trump Organization pushed an alleged pyramid scheme. While Trump, in "Celebrity Apprentice," vouched for the ACN Videophone, litigants are trying to figure out if other footage shot for the show demonstrated otherwise. ACN lost an attempt to bring the case to arbitration, and a jury trial is expected to be scheduled for late 2022 or 2023. July Steve Bannon speaks to the press on his way out of federal court in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2021.Drew Angerer/Getty Images)July 7 — Prosecutors and Roger Stone, one of Trump's longtime political advisors, have to meet this deadline for a civil case in which the US Attorney's Office in Florida alleged Stone failed to pay $2 million in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties. July 12 — The New York State Supreme Court will hold a hearing in the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal case against the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg, who's become more marginalized within the company following the indictment from last July. The status conference is expected to update the public on how Trump Organization lawyers are reviewing the 6 million pages of discovery material for the case, in which the Manhattan District Attorney's office alleges the company and executive dodged millions of dollars in taxes. The judge has also signaled he wants to hold a trial before the end of 2022. July 18 — Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, is expected to go on trial in Washington, D.C. Bannon is facing two criminal charges over defying a congressional subpoena. The Justice Department formally charged him in November 2021 after he refused to comply with a subpoena handed down from the House Select Committee that is investigating the January 6 riot. September Tom Barrack, the chairman of Trump's 2017 inaugural committee, is set to stand trial in September on charges he secretly acted as an agent of the United Arab Emirates. Barrack was charged in July with using his access to Trump to advance the United Arab Emirates' foreign-policy goals and later misleading federal investigators about his activities in a 2019 interview. The indictment of the top Trump fundraiser marked an escalation of the Justice Department's crackdown in recent years on covert foreign influence. Barrack's legal team is headlined by Daniel Petrocelli, a partner at the law firm O'Melveny & Myers who previously represented Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling and, more recently, defended AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner Inc. against a Justice Department antitrust challenge. November Trump ally Roger Stone is auctioning off a non-fungible token of an autograph addressed to him by former President Donald Trump.Stone Cold Collection/Roger StoneNovember 7 — Trump's longtime political advisor Roger Stone is scheduled to go to trial in federal court in Florida over allegations that he failed to pay $2 million in taxes, as well as interest and penalties for the unpaid sum.