Trump Sweeps March 5 Super Tuesday Republican Primaries; Supreme Court Rules State’s Can Not Disqualify Trump From Ballot; Update On Trump’s Criminal Charges And Civil Cases; Criminal Convictions Will Likely Not Make Any Difference As Trump Becomes Presumptive Republican Nominee

On March 5, referred to in national politics as Super Tuesday, fifteen states and American Samoa held their Republican and Democratic Presidential Primaries.  Both Biden and Trump crossed the halfway point in the race to become their parties’ nominees. Biden has 994 delegates, with 1,968 needed for the Democratic nomination. Trump has 715 delegates, with 1,215 needed for the Republican nomination.

President Joe Biden secured solid wins in Texas, Virginia and North Carolina. He was also projected to be  the winner of Minnesota, the home state of his main primary challenger, Rep. Dean Phillips.

Former President Donald Trump swept the Republican primaries in the red  states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, the blue states of California, Massachusetts, Colorado and in the historic and potentially emerging or reemerging battleground states of  Virginia, North Carolina and Minnesota. Trump had already won the Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, the US Virgin Island, South Carolina and Michigan caucuses and primaries with all Republican opponents dropping out except for former Ambassador Niki Haley.  Trump has essentially secured the support he needs to become the Republican presumptive nominee.

On March 6, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley dropped out of the race.  She came nowhere near the Republican nomination. She could not  prevent Super Tuesday from becoming a blowout and in the end, she won  only Washington, D.C. and Vermont.


On March 4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Donald Trump in a historic Colorado  case challenging his eligibility to seek the Republican presidential nomination under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution due to his actions around the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The court was unanimous in reversing the unprecedented decision out of Colorado that would kick Trump off the ballot under the provision after a state trial court found he participated in “insurrection” on Jan. 6 through incitement.

The unsigned Supreme Court opinion reads in part as follows”

“For the reasons given, responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates rests with Congress and not the States. …The judgment of the Colorado Supreme Court therefore cannot stand. All nine Members of the Court agree with that result.”

In holding that only Congress has the power to enforce the provisions under Section 5 of the amendment, the Supreme Court  said its decision would apply to federal offices nationwide.  The decision reads in part as follows:

“This case raises the question whether the States, in addition to Congress, may also enforce Section 3. … We conclude that States may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office. But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency.”

The justices further said the idea that individual states can decide how the section is used with respect to federal offices is “simply implausible” and could result in an unworkable “patchwork” where a candidate could be ineligible in one state but not another.


Donald J. Trump is the first American President to be impeached twice and the first former president in American history to be charged with  both state and  federal crimes in four separate criminal indictments in 4 separate states.   This blog article is an in depth overview of the key players and allegations in each of his four criminal cases and the one civil lawsuit alleging fraud and reporting on the  status of where the cases now stand.


Of all the cases, this is the one that is considered the most serious. Trump is accused of participating in a scheme to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power after he lost the 2020 election to now-President Joe Biden. The indictment accuses Trump and six unindicted, unnamed co-conspirators of knowingly spreading lies that there was widespread “fraud in the election and that he had actually won,” ultimately leading to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Trump denies all wrongdoing.

Where: U.S. district court, Washington, D.C.

Judge: U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan

Lead prosecutor: Special counsel Jack Smith

Lead defense attorneys: John Lauro, Todd Blanche

Co-defendants: None

Unindicted co-conspirators: Not named in the indictment, but most have been identified.

Indicted: Aug. 1, 2023

Indictment Text: Read here

Charges: 4 counts total:

  • Conspiracy to defraud the U.S.
  • Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding
  • Obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding
  • Conspiracy against rights

Arraigned: Aug. 3, 2023

Plea: Not guilty

Scheduled trial: The March 4, 2024 trial date has been vacated and a new trial date has yet to be announced by the federal court pending all the appeals.

STATUS Of CASE:  Smith’s second case against Trump was unveiled in August 2023 when the former president was indicted on felony charges for working to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the violent riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The four-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and  the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory. It describes how Trump repeatedly told supporters and others that he had won the election, despite knowing that was false, and how he tried to persuade state officials, and then-Vice President Mike Pence and finally Congress to overturn the legitimate election results.

After a weekslong campaign of lies about the election results, prosecutors allege that Trump sought to exploit the violence at the Capitol by pointing to it as a reason to further delay the counting of votes that sealed his defeat.

In their charging documents, prosecutors referenced a half-dozen unindicted co-conspirators, including lawyers inside and outside of government who they said had worked with Trump to undo the election results and advanced legally dubious schemes to enlist slates of fake electors in battleground states won by Biden.

The Trump campaign has called the charges “fake” and asked why it took 2 1/2 years to bring them. He has pleaded not guilty.

The link to the quoted news source is here:


On December 12, 2023 Special Counsel Jack Smith asked the US Supreme Court to immediately step in and decide if  former President Donald Trump has immunity from prosecution for his actions seeking to overturn the 2020 election.  Smith wrote in his petition to the US Supreme Court:

“This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office. … [it is] of imperative public importance … that the high court decide the question … [so that the  trial, currently scheduled for March, can move forward as quickly as possible.]”

Earlier, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the election interference case, denied Trump’s motion to dismiss his indictment on presidential immunity and constitutional grounds, prompting Trump to appeal and ask for the case to be put on hold.  In order to prevent a delay, Smith sought  to circumvent the appeals process by asking the Supreme Court to take up the case and decide the issue on an expedited basis.

On December 22, the Supreme Court  denied special counsel Jack Smith’s bid to fast-track a dispute about whether former President Donald Trump should enjoy absolute immunity from prosecution for misconduct during his time in the White House. The court did not offer a reason for its decision.

The action reverted to the federal Court of Appeals  in Washington, D.C, on the question of immunity.


On February 6, the  federal appeals court ruled  that Donald Trump is not immune from prosecution for alleged crimes he committed during his presidency, flatly rejecting Trump’s arguments that he shouldn’t have to go on trial on federal election subversion charges.  The judges made it clear that Trump’s actions could be prosecuted in a court of law.

The judges cited the public interest in accountability for potential crimes committed by a former president, and how that overcame Trump’s argument that immunity was necessary to protect the institution of the presidency. They flatly rejected Trump’s claim that his criminal indictment would have a “chilling effect” on future administrations.

A key part of Trump’s legal strategy has been to delay his criminal cases until after the 2024 election. Now, the trial’s timing will be in the hands of the Supreme Court. If Trump is successful with getting the Supreme Court to hear the appeal, the criminal trial would not resume until after the high court decides what to do with his request for a pause.,on%20federal%20election%20subversion%20charges.


Trump appealed the to the United States Supreme Court the Court of Appeals decision that he is not immune from prosecution and sought  a “stay of the criminal case” by the Supreme Court until  they render a decision. In response to the Trump appeal and the request to place a hold on the proceedings, Special Council Jack Smith filed a request to treat the Trump stay application as a petition for a writ of certiorari and to treat the case in an expedited manner.

On February 28 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case,  issued an  order expediting hearing the case, order briefings and scheduled oral argument during the week of April 22, 2024.  The Supreme Court limited the case to one single question:

“Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.”


Trump is accused of keeping classified documents after leaving the White House and storing them “in various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club including in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room” according to the indictment. He is also accused of a “scheme to conceal” that he had kept those documents. Trump denies all  wrongdoing. 

Where: U.S. district court, Fort Pierce, Florida

Judge: U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon

Lead prosecutor: Special counsel Jack Smith

Lead defense attorneys: Todd Blanche, Christopher Kise

Co-defendants: Walt Nauta, an aide to Trump, and Carlos De Oliveira, a property manager at Mar-a-Lago

Indicted: June 8, 2023; superseding indictment returned July 27, 2023

Indictment Text: Read here

Charges: 40 counts in all, including:

  • 32 counts of unlawful retention of national defense information;
  • One count of conspiracy to obstruct justice;
  • One count of withholding a document or record;
  • One count of corruptly concealing a document or record
  • One count of concealing a document in a federal investigation
  • One count of scheme to conceal
  • One count of false statements and representations
  • One count of altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing an object
  • One count of corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a document, record or other object

Arraigned: June 13, 2023; Aug. 10, 2023

Plea: Not guilty

Scheduled trial: May, 2024

Case Status: Special counsel Jack Smith has been leading two federal probes related to Trump, both of which have resulted in charges against the former president. The first charges to result from those investigations came in June when Trump was indicted on charges he mishandled top secret documents at his Florida estate. The indictment alleged that Trump repeatedly enlisted aides and lawyers to help him hide records demanded by investigators and cavalierly showed off a Pentagon “plan of attack” and classified map.  Top of Form


This case is considered the weakest of the criminal cases and it will be the first to go to trial. Trump is accused of violating New York State law by allegedly agreeing to obscure a series of reimbursements to his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who is the key witness against Trump in the case. Cohen made a $130,000 alleged “hush money” payment to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, days before the 2016 election, in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump. Trump denies the allegations and says there was no affair.

Prosecutors accuse Trump of illegally portraying the reimbursements to Cohen as legal expenses.

Where: Supreme Court of the State of New York

Judge: Judge Juan Merchan

Lead prosecutor: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg

Defense attorneys: Todd Blanche, Susan Necheles, Joe Tacopina

Co-defendants: None

Indicted: March 30, 2023

Indictment Text: Read here

Charges: 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree

Arraigned: April 4, 2023

Plea: Not guilty

Scheduled trial: March 25, 2024


Trump and 18 others are accused under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations or RICO law of coordinating an effort to thwart proper certification of the state’s 2020 presidential election, which Biden won. The investigation was launched after an infamous recorded phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, in which Trump pressed him “to find 11,780 votes.” Trump denies the allegations.

Where: Superior Court of Fulton County

Judge: Judge Scott McAfee

Lead prosecutor: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

Lead defense attorneys: Steven Sadow, Jennifer Little

Co-defendants: Rudy Giuliani; John Eastman; Mark Meadows; Kenneth Chesebro; Jeffrey Clark, Jenna Ellis; Ray Smith; Robert Cheeley; Michael Roman; David Shafer; Shawn Still; Stephen Lee; Willie Floyd; Trevian Kutti; Sidney Powell; Cathleen Latham; Scott Hall; Misty Hampton

Unindicted co-conspirators: 30 unnamed

Indicted: Aug. 14, 2023

Indictment Text: Read here

Charges: 13 counts total:

  • 3 counts of solicitation of violation of oath by public officer
  • 2 counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree
  • 2 counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings
  • 2 counts of false statements and writings
  • Violation of Georgia RICO Act
  • Conspiracy to Commit Impersonating a public officer
  • Conspiracy to commit filing false documents
  • Filing false documents

Booked: Aug. 24, 2023

Plea: Originally, Trump and all 18 co-defendants pleaded not guilty.

TRIAL DATE: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is requesting a start date of Aug. 5, 2024.

 Status of Case:

Trump is charged alongside 18 other people  including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows with violating the state’s anti-racketeering law by scheming to illegally overturn his 2020 election loss.

The indictment, handed up in August, accuses Trump or his allies of suggesting Georgia’s Republican secretary of state could find enough votes for him to win the battleground state; harassing an election worker who faced false claims of fraud; and attempting to persuade Georgia lawmakers to ignore the will of voters and appoint a new slate of Electoral College electors favorable to Trump.

GUILTY PLEAS   On September 29, defendant  bail bondsman Scott Graham Hall, pleaded guilty  in a plea deal with prosecutors and agreed to testify in further proceedings.

In October, 2023  co-defendants Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis pled guilty to conspiracy charges just prior to jury selection. Powell was sentenced on Oct. 19 to six years of probation for conspiring to interfere with the performance of election duties while orchestrating a Coffee County elections system breach following the 2020 presidential election. A day later, Chesebro’s plea deal was approved just of hours after several hundred prospective jurors completed a questionnaire for his trial. Chesebro admitted planning the alternate GOP elector scheme in order to prevent Biden from taking office in January 2021.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis became embroiled in controversy when she was accused of having a romantic relationship with a top prosecutor she appointed in the case.  Trump attorneys sought to disqualify Willis from the case.  After several days of extraordinary testimony, Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee heard arguments over whether Willis’ relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade amounts to a conflict of interest that should force them off the case.

Attorneys for Trump and some of his co-defendants accused Willis and Wade of lying on the witness stand about when their relationship began, and told McAfee that keeping the district attorney on the case threatens to undermine the public’s confidence in the hugely consequential prosecution.

The court is expected to rule on disqualification within a few weeks, but no matter the decision the prosecution of Trump will proceed.

The link to a quoted news source is here:


The civil lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat sought  $370 million from Trump and the other defendants including his two sons.  The figure was originally $250 million. James alleged that Trump filed fraudulent financial statements that allowed him to obtain loans and insurance at more favorable rates. The trial lasted over 11 weeks.

On February 17, Judge Arthur Engoron hit Donald Trump with the  biggest punishment against him to date. Judge Enogron fined the former president $355 million for fraudulently inflating the values of his properties.  Engoron found Trump liable for fraud, conspiracy and issuing false financial statements and false business records, and he barred him from serving as director of a company in New York for three years. But while he stopped short of dissolving the Trump Organization altogether, Engoron issued a blistering 93-page opinion that painted the former president as unremorseful and highly likely to commit fraud again.

Here are key takeaways from the decision:

  • The biggest fines yet against Trump: Engoron found that the defendants’ fraud saved them about $168 million in interest, fining Trump and his companies that amount. He also ruled that Trump and his companies were liable for $126 million in ill-gotten profits from the sale of the Old Post Office in Washington, DC, and that Trump and his companies were liable for $60 million in profits from the sale of Ferry Point in the Bronx. Engoron also wrote that Trump would be required to pay for interest.
  • The judge gets the last word: Trump repeatedly attacked Engoron and the case throughout the 11-week trial on social media, outside the courtroom – and even to the judge’s face while he testified.  Engoron got the last word, painting Trump as a “pathological” fraudster who would not stop unless forced. The judge acknowledged that the sins Trump committed,  which his lawyers frequently argued had no victim because banks were repaid and often eager to do business with Trump’s company, were not as serious as some crimes. But he faulted Trump and his co-defendants for a complete lack of contrition.
  • No corporate death penalty: The judge banned Trump from serving as an officer or director of a New York corporation for three years, but did not issue the so-called corporate death penalty. Engoron pulled back from a decision he issued a summary judgment in September dissolving Trump’s business certificates in finding that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for persistent and repeated fraud.  The independent monitor installed last fall will stay in place for at least three years and an independent director of compliance should be put in place at the Trump Org. at the company’s expense, the ruling said.
  • Judge says Cohen told the truth: Engoron recapped Michael Cohen’s theatrical trial testimony, acknowledging the credibility issues with Trump’s former lawyer and fixer. But ultimately, Engoron said, he believed Cohen.
  • Trump’s adult sons banned for 2 years: Trump’s eldest sons,  who have run the Trump Organization since 2017,  are barred from serving as executives in New York for two years. The Trumps will have to navigate the two-year penalty as they sort out the future of the family-run real estate company.

On Febraury 25 Trump appealed the  New York judge’s order requiring the former president to pay $355 million plus interest in the civil-fraud case that has put the future of his real-estate business at risk. Not withstanding the appeal, Trump must post the full $355 million as bond for the appeal which will likely force Trump to sell off signature properties.

$83 Million Civil Verdict Against Trump For Defamation

A longtime advice columnist, E. Jean Carroll wrote a story in New York magazine in 2019 accusing Trump of sexually assaulting her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Trump, who was president at the time, immediately denied the allegations, calling Carroll a “whack job” and claiming he had never met her. He would go on to repeat similar denials in public appearances, social media posts and even in court, a pattern cited by Carroll’s attorneys during the trial.

Carroll filed 2 defamation lawsuits over comments Trump made in 2019 and 2022, arguing his disparagements ruined her reputation and subjected her to endless streams of threats. In the trial to resolve Carroll’s first suit in May 2023, a jury found Trump liable for defamation and sexual abuse and awarded Carroll $5 million.

Before the second trial got underway, the judge ruled that Carroll was telling the truth about the assault, and that Trump’s statements denying her claims were defamatory. The jury was tasked only with deciding what damages Carroll was entitled to receive.

The jurors’ $83 million decision came just days after Trump won the New Hampshire primary, solidifying his status as the front-runner to become the Republican presidential nominee.

On January 26, a jury awarded a judgment in the amount of $83.3 million against Former President Donald Trump in damages for defamatory statements he made denying he sexually assaulted the writer E. Jean Carroll, handing down a stunning verdict after less than three hours of deliberation.

The jury awarded Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages, and $65 million in punitive damages. The compensatory amount included $11 million for repairing her reputation, and $7.3 million for emotional harm.

Carroll’s attorneys asked the jury to award $24 million in compensatory damages. The punitive amount, lawyer Roberta Kaplan said, should be enough to “make him stop” defaming her client.

After the verdict was read aloud in federal court in lower Manhattan, Carroll emerged from the courthouse smiling and flanked by her legal team. She declined to speak to a crush of cameras and reporters assembled outside, but issued a statement later, saying, “This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down, and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down.”


After the Super Tuesday primaries, there is very little doubt that the 2024 Presidential election is a rematch of the 2020 Presidential election between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. The big difference is what effect will all the criminal trials have on the election.

The four criminal indictments will proceed through the Republican primary season, an overlap of legal and political calendars with no precedent in American politics.  Even if he were to be convicted in the federal criminal cases,  which are the strongest cases, top Republican  party leaders and many Republican voters have indicated they will stand by Trump. Trump and his allies have always pushed  to dismiss and delay the trials and have worked with state parties to craft rules favorable to him.

The Republican National Convention rules do not include any provisions specific to the unprecedented scenario unfolding. Bound delegates must vote for a particular presidential candidate at the convention based on the results of the primary or caucus in their state. As in past years, every state party must bind its delegates to vote for their assigned candidates during at least the first round of voting at the national convention, with limited exceptions for a small number of delegates. A candidate wins the nomination if they clinch a majority, which is 1,215 delegates.

Trump is already acting like his nomination is a done deal by virtue of  all of his wins in Iowa,  New Hampshire,  South Carolina, Michigan and on Super Tuesday as he tried to force Niki Haley out of the race. Trump is already acting like he will be elected and beat President Joe Biden come the general election and no doubt embolden by the recent polls showing that he is leading President Biden by 4% to 5% in national polls.


Trump has a confirmed history of retaliation. Trump’s former chief of staff John F. Kelly in a sworn statement said his Trump  had discussed having the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies harass two of the FBI officials who had investigated ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia. Separately, Kelly  told the New York Times that Trump wanted to have other perceived enemies audited or investigated as well, including former CIA director John Brennan, Hillary Clinton, and Amazon founder and Post owner Jeff Bezos. Kelly said he did not cooperate.  The Post recently reported Trump has  told advisers of plans to have the Justice Department investigate Kelly himself.

On November 13, opinion columnist Catherine Rampell with the Washington Post offered insight as to what voters can expect in a Trump second term and it’s not pretty. It will be 4 years of retaliation and misuse of government agencies and the courts full of Trump appointees will to do his bidding without question.

Blaming judges and the “deep state” for thwarting him, Trump boasts of the hundreds of federal judges who he nominated and who were confirmed. Trump has also begun amassing a government-in-waiting that will execute his ambitions more effectively next time.  The link to the column is here:

With all of Trump’s legal problems and the 4 criminal cases looming large, the most baffling question is whether any conviction will make any difference, especially to Republicans?  Trump himself has said that even if convicted, he intends to press on with his campaign. If in fact convicted of any of the charges and elected, the country will  be dealing with the first sitting President of the United States who be sitting behind bars in either a state or federal prison.


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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.