Home News Target Letter to Trump Raises Possibility of Obstruction and Fraud Charges

Target Letter to Trump Raises Possibility of Obstruction and Fraud Charges

Target Letter to Trump Raises Possibility of Obstruction and Fraud Charges

A constellation of other potential crimes has also surrounded the Jan. 6 investigation. One is wire fraud. Section 1343 of Title 18 makes it a crime, punishable by 20 years in prison, to cause money to be transferred by wire across state lines as part of a scheme to obtain money by means of false or fraudulent representations. A similar fraud statute, Section 1341, covers schemes that use the Postal Service.

Subpoenas issued by Mr. Smith suggest that he has been scrutinizing Mr. Trump’s political action committee, Save America PAC. It raised as much as $250 million, telling donors the money was needed to fight election fraud even as Mr. Trump had been told repeatedly that there was no evidence to back up those claims.

The House Jan. 6 committee had also suggested that Mr. Trump and his associates had defrauded his own supporters. It described how after the election, they appealed to donors as many as 25 times a day to help fight the results in court and contribute to a defense fund. But no such fund existed, and they used the money for other purposes, including spending more than $200,000 at Trump hotel properties.

“Throughout the committee’s investigation, we found evidence that the Trump campaign and its surrogates misled donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for,” Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, said during one hearing. “So not only was there the big lie. There was the big rip-off.”

The Jan. 6 committee and some legal commentators have also suggested Mr. Trump could be charged under Section 2383 of Title 18, which makes it a crime to incite, assist, “aid or comfort” an insurrection against the authority and laws of the federal government. That offense, however, is rarely charged and has not been leveled against any Jan. 6 defendant to date.

In its final report, the committee singled out five of Mr. Trump’s other allies — Mark Meadows, his final chief of staff; and the lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro — as potential co-conspirators with Mr. Trump in actions the committee said warranted Justice Department investigation.

Luke Broadwater contributed reporting.


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