Examining the Indictments Related to Donald Trump in 2020

In Donald Trump’s final year as president in 2020, federal prosecutors filed indictments against key associates related to Trump’s 2016 campaign, inauguration, and political activities.

While Trump himself avoided criminal charges, these 2020 indictments demonstrated prosecutors moving aggressively on cases ensnaring Trump’s inner circle. This article reviews the major Trump-connected indictments from 2020 and their implications.

The Mueller Team’s Roger Stone Indictment

In January 2020, longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone was indicted on charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office over Stone’s actions during the 2016 election [1].

Charges Filed

Stone was indicted on seven criminal counts:

  • 5 counts of making false statements
  • 1 count of witness tampering
  • 1 count of obstructing an official proceeding

Details of Alleged Wrongdoing

Prosecutors accused Stone of [2]:

  • Lying to Congress about contacts with WikiLeaks related to hacked Democratic emails released during 2016 campaign.
  • Attempting to influence other witnesses’ Congressional testimony.
  • Obstructing Congressional and FBI investigations into Russian election interference.

Ties to Trump

Stone was a Trump campaign advisor and decades-long close confidante of Donald Trump [3].

Prosecutors said Stone coordinated with senior Trump campaign officials on WikiLeaks email strategy.


In February 2020, Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison for the crimes [4]. Trump later commuted the sentence days before Stone was set to report to prison [5].

Bannon Fraud Indictment

In August 2020, former top Trump strategist Steve Bannon was indicted for allegedly defrauding donors to a fundraising effort purportedly aimed at building a border wall [6].

Charges Filed

Bannon was indicted on two counts [7]:

  • Conspiracy to commit money laundering
  • Conspiracy to commit wire fraud

Alleged Scheme

Prosecutors alleged Bannon and co-conspirators [8]:

  • Diverted over $1 million from the “We Build the Wall” online fundraising campaign.
  • Funneled donations to pay personal expenses instead of funding private border wall construction.

Connections to Trump

Bannon was CEO of Trump’s 2016 campaign and later served as White House chief strategist [9]. Prosecutors said though Trump was not involved, the private wall effort stemmed from his immigration agenda [10].

Elliott Broidy’s Foreign Lobbying Indictment

In October 2020, top Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy was charged in a scheme to covertly lobby the Trump administration on behalf of foreign interests [11].

Charges Filed

Broidy was charged with:

  • Conspiracy to serve as an unregistered foreign agent [12]
  • Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Alleged Scheme

Prosecutors alleged Broidy accepted $6 million to lobby White House officials (including Trump) on behalf of Malaysian and Chinese interests [13]. Officials were not informed of the foreign funding behind the push as required by law.

Broidy’s Trump Ties

A deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, Broidy helped raise millions for Trump’s 2016 campaign and inauguration committees [14].


While Donald Trump avoided personal indictment in 2020, federal prosecutors brought charges against three high-profile Trump associates related to political and fundraising activity surrounding his administration and campaign. The indictments demonstrated Trump’s inner circle faced growing legal peril even during his presidency.

Most defendants were convicted or pled guilty rather than battling the charges in court. Whether the Justice Department ultimately charges Trump will depend on prosecutors building cases against him as the central figure in directing any crimes. But the 2020 indictments show authorities aggressively pursuing wrongdoing in Trump’s immediate orbit.


[1] https://www.npr.org/2019/01/25/688847608/longtime-trump-friend-roger-stone-arrested-on-7-felony-charges

[2] https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1243326/download

[3] https://www.npr.org/2019/04/17/713436053/7-key-moments-from-robert-muellers-testimony-before-congress

[4] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/20/trump-friend-roger-stone-sentenced-to-over-three-years-in-prison-for-lies-to-congress-witness-tampering.html

[5] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-commutes-sentence-longtime-friend-adviser-roger-stone-n1233092

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/20/nyregion/steve-bannon-arrested-indicted.html

[7] https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/leaders-we-build-wall-online-fundraising-campaign-charged-defrauding-hundreds-thousands

[8] https://www.npr.org/2020/08/20/904089629/former-trump-adviser-steve-bannon-charged-with-fraud-in-border-wall-fundraising

[9] https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-trump-adviser-steve-bannon-indicted-on-contempt-charges-11636774161

[10] https://www.npr.org/2020/08/20/904089629/former-trump-adviser-steve-bannon-charged-with-fraud-in-border-wall-fundraising

[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/20/us/politics/elliott-broidy-trump-foreign-lobbying-indictment.html

[12] https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/businessperson-charged-acting-illegally-foreign-agent-attempt-corrupt-justice-department

[13] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-broidy/ex-republican-fundraiser-broidy-charged-in-illicit-lobbying-campaign-idUSKBN2752UJ

[14] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/08/us/politics/elliott-broidy-trump-foreign-lobbying.html

Leave a Comment