Donald Trump's Legal Reckoning Fails to Materialize in First Week After Leaving Office

A post-presidency legal reckoning for Donald Trump has yet to materialize a week after he left the White House. The office protected Trump from most litigation—and it was widely expected that lawsuits would fly soon after his departure.

However, Trump left for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last Wednesday and so far no swathe of new charges has emerged.

Cases linked to Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen have been widely predicted. Cohen pleaded guilty to a range of crimes and admitted paying hush money to women over affairs with Trump. When Cohen was sentenced in 2018, Trump would have been immune from prosecution over alleged complicity in the payments.

Trump rejected Cohen's testimony at the time, suggesting he was "lying in order to reduce his prison time."

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is heading an investigation into allegations of improper conduct surrounding the former president's businesses.

According to court documents, Vance is looking into "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization." Trump previously branded this a "witch hunt." No one has yet been charged with criminal wrongdoing linked to this investigation.

Kim Wehle, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law, told NPR last November: "It's hard to imagine that Cyrus Vance would have put this kind of effort into investigating Donald Trump while he was president if he was just going to drop that investigation and anything that could come out of that when he is a private citizen like anyone else."

New York Attorney General Letitia James is also conducting a civil investigation into Trump Organization real estate projects. It is looking into whether the company misrepresented the value of its assets.

"Our investigation is ongoing," James told NY1 last Thursday.

"We're in the midst of document discovery. We have interviewed a number of individuals, including Eric Trump and others. And our investigation has no bearing on whether or not Donald Trump is the president."

James added that the civil investigation could become more serious if "we uncover any criminal conduct."

Trump could also face charges related to tax fraud after a New York Times report that he paid $750 in income tax in 2016 and 2017.

"You've got the stuff that has come out of The New York Times that has all kind of indicia of tax fraud," Nick Akerman, a lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney and former federal prosecutor, told Reuters in November. Trump has rejected the Times allegations, calling the report "fake news."

Trump also faces defamation actions from women who have accused him of sexual assault. Writer E. Jean Carroll has launched a defamation lawsuit against him after he denied her accusations that he had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Trump's lawyers have suggested he should not be prosecuted as he made the denial while he was president.

The Westfall Act gives federal employees immunity from tort claims that come from acts that occur while they are undertaking their duties.

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, has also filed a defamation suit against Trump after he denied sexually assaulting her.

Trump will soon face a Senate impeachment trial. However, a recent vote on the constitutionality of the trial, scheduled to begin on February 8, indicated he would likely be acquitted.

Newsweek has contacted Trump's Office of the Former President for comment.

donald trump at joint base andrews january20
Donald Trump speaks to supporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One on January 20. The former president no longer has protections against some legal actions. Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images