Trump Organization under criminal investigation by New York Attorney General
The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James has confirmed that former President Donald Trump's business dealings are being investigated "in a criminal capacity."
The New York State Attorney General’s office has confirmed that it has widened the probe into the Trump Organization, launching a criminal investigation into some of the former President’s business dealings.
A statement from Fabien Levy, the spokesperson for New York Attorney General Letitia James, released on Tuesday read: "We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature.”
"We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA."
Criminal cases require proof of intent. If NY AG Tish James is ready to convert her civil case against Trump into a criminal prosecution she must have convincing evidence of intent. This ups the pressure dramatically on Trump, Weisselberg and the entire Trump Org.— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) May 19, 2021
Up to this point the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business organisation had been a civil matter but this latest bombshell brings into focus the possibility of a criminal charge and subsequent jail time.
What is the Trump Organisation being investigated for?
The statement from the Attorney General’s office confirmed that they are now working closely with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, who have been conducting a more wide-sweeping investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices. Previously, they had been focusing on accusations that the company falsified the value of certain properties and had not paid appropriate taxes.
CNN report that the New York Attorney General’s office has been joined in its probe by several investigators with an intimate knowledge of Trump’s business dealings; while Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's office is currently working through millions of pages of documents, including Trump’s tax returns.
The New York attorney general’s office said it has now opened a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s company, going beyond what began as a civil probe https://t.co/N75ZoRZb7z pic.twitter.com/wM8x5x6BXM— Reuters (@Reuters) May 19, 2021
The battle over Trump’s tax returns has been an ongoing struggling for years, dating back to his successful 2016 run for President. Trump had initially refused to hand them over, breaking with presidential tradition, but a recent Supreme Court ruling obliged his accountants to hand them over to investigators.
It is thought that several properties owned by the Trump Organization are involved in the new criminal investigation, including Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County; 40 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan; Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago; and Los Angeles’ Trump National Golf Club.
What does a criminal investigation mean for Trump?
Attorney General Letitia James’ office is ramping up the examination of the former President’s business dealings and has made clear that she will ensure that Trump is held accountable for any wrongdoing.
When Eric Trump was ordered by a Judge to answer questions under oath as part of the same investigation, James released a statement saying: “The court’s order today makes clear that no one is above the law, not even an organization or an individual with the name Trump.”
There have been accusations of financial wrongdoing surrounding the Trump Organization for some time, most notably in last year’s New York Times revelation that Trump paid just $750 in federal taxes in 2017.
Don't forget. NY DA has Trump's tax returns. He lost his fight to keep them secret in the Supreme Court 9-0.— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) May 19, 2021
Specifics of the potential criminal case have not yet been made public, but this news marks a notable escalation in the investigation into Trump. POLITICO sources have reported that law enforcement officials in Florida are planning for a scenario where Trump could be indicted by the New York State prosecutors while at his Mar-a-Lago beach club.
If that were the case, Trump would likely hope that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close ally of the former President, would intervene and attempt to stop him being placed in custody. Florida law allows the Governor to step in and launch an investigation in the case of an out-of-state indictment.
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