New York Prosecutors Publicly Declare A Criminal Investigation of the Trump Organization

The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James has publicly released a statement that it is now pursuing a criminal rather than a purely civil investigation against the Trump Organization. The investigation is being handled in conjunction with the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The investigations appear to focus on tax and business dealings.  While I have challenged claims of a long litany “slam dunk” crimes related to Russia or Ukraine (or even tweets) that legal experts declared regularly on outlets like CNN and MSNBC, I have long opposed Trump’s effort to withhold his tax records and viewed these tax and transactional crimes as the greatest threat for actual prosecution. Tax and fraud cases are easier to prosecute and more difficult to defend in court.

James’ office has been investigating the Trump Organization since 2019 and announced this week that the civil investigation now has a criminal component:

“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.”

Investigating a large organization on tax and fraud issues tends to be a target-rich environment. Real estate is an area notorious for the manipulation of assets and their stated worth. Assets are often undervalued to reduce tax exposure or overvalued to secure bank loans. The greatest danger is when the same assets are involved in such reporting controversies.

Investigators have deposed a slew of Trump Organization officials including Eric Trump, the former President’s son, and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.

There could also be upcoming privilege fights over demands for information from tax attorney Sheri Dillon.

One objection is that this is selective prosecution. We previously discussed that issue in the context of James’ investigation of the National Rifle Association. James also ran on the pledge to relentlessly pursue Trump and his aides. In this controversy, the Trump counsel is likely to argue that such reporting tactics are common to the real estate field. However, selective prosecution claims are notoriously difficult to argue. Selective prosecution is a sometimes a viable defense when it is used against a group with discriminatory purpose. See United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456, 116 S. Ct. 1480 (1996), Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886).  The key is that the proof of a prosecution “directed so exclusively against a particular class of persons … with a mind so unequal and oppressive” that it violates the guarantee of equal prosecution under the law.

Likewise, malicious prosecution claims are overwhelmingly rejected. This is usually the basis for a civil lawsuit after prevailing in the criminal system. However, it requires an extremely high showing of abuse. In the criminal system, courts tend to disregard arguments based on the motivations of prosecutors. State prosecutors like James are elected and are often motivated by politics. However, courts are focused on whether the underlying allegations would constitute a crime if proven.

As a defense attorney, I would be more focused on cooperative agreements at this stage, particularly with Weisselberg.  Tax and fraud cases are comparatively easier to prove than crimes like obstruction but his cooperation could make this a slam dunk.  Moreover, he could convert an investigation into the Trump Organization and make it an investigation into Trump himself. The question is whether Trump was or should have been aware of illegality in the reporting of assets.

197 thoughts on “New York Prosecutors Publicly Declare A Criminal Investigation of the Trump Organization”

  1. Pennsylvania Votes to Limit Governor’s Emergency Powers
    BY LILY SUN May 22, 2021 Updated: May 22, 2021 biggersmaller Print
    Pennsylvania voted to amend its Constitution on May 18 in response to their governor’s use of emergency declarations to decide laws during the pandemic. As more than two million Pennsylvanians voted in a primary election, they passed two constitutional amendments in ballot questions to restrict the governor’s emergency declaration powers to give some power back to the legislature

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_breakingnews/pennsylvania-votes-to-limit-governors-emergency-powers_3825927.html?utm_source=News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-05-23-1&mktids=521ddb03ede005fffb6d685f119bbb05&est=F2ft%2F7zQox5enFTcaj0DU3u2aWlnYGNrC%2Bthf3638xdjM%2F9RrPpTQoGX9f5N7O4PF%2Bg%3D
    —–

    Anonymous the Stupid, you had so much interest in the last one, I figured I would present you with a bonus present.

  2. Why Are Democrats So Afraid of Election Audits? Democrats claim election audits like the one in Arizona are an existential threat to democracy, but it’s difficult to see how—unless they reveal that our elections have been hijacked. By Charlie Kirk

    Democrats are positively terrified of election audits that aren’t completely controlled by the political establishment. If there’s a chance an audit might reveal meaningful information, you can bet Democrats (and certain weak Republicans) will stridently oppose it. The only audits Democrats and their allies support are the ones designed to rubber-stamp previous conclusions.

    The increasingly desperate attacks on the ongoing audit in Maricopa County, Arizona—particularly those intended to undermine the credibility of the auditors—show just how much the Democratic Party establishment fears the whole process. Their entire argument is based on sarcasm, scorn, and scare quotes.

    The auditors are inspecting the paper that ballots were printed on? They must believe in a far-fetched conspiracy theory!

    The auditors are checking to make sure the ballots don’t have watermarks that are not supposed to be there? They must be members of fringe online message boards!

    The audit is being funded primarily by private donations? It must be an elaborate “grift” rather than a serious fact-finding effort (not to mention they need the funds to fend off the litany of lawsuits they’re facing).

    By smearing the auditors as corrupt and/or inept, and the audit itself as a partisan stunt, leftists are hoping they can discredit the process and convince Americans to stop asking pesky questions about whether any laws were broken or procedural loopholes exploited during the 2020 elections. That’s the way people respond to questions when they don’t want anyone to know the answers.

    It’s not just the Arizona audit, either. Democrats and their media allies are already fully engaged in a crusade to preemptively impugn the legitimacy of any audits that might be conducted in other states, describing conservative support for audits in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere as “a bid to bolster former President Donald Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.”

    If they really believe the 2020 elections were “the most secure in American history,” then they should welcome audits as a way of substantiating that claim. Indeed, they should even be celebrating audits run by Republicans, since their conclusions will carry so much more weight with GOP voters. That said, the Arizona auditors have practically been begging Democrats to participate, but the Democrats have only been interested in attacking the process from afar.

    Continued: https://amgreatness.com/2021/05/22/why-are-democrats-so-afraid-of-election-audits/

    1. Stupid Meyer posts more “American Greatness” garbage.

      As usual, he avoids quotation marks and probably quotes more of the article than is legally permissible.

      Jonathan Turley has said. “…we will delete long reproductions or copying of the work by other authors or publications without their consent.”

      https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/american-greatness/

      “Overall, we rate American Greatness Right biased based on story selection that favors the right and Mixed for factual reporting due to the use of poor sources and the promotion of misinformation.”

      1. Leftists hate American Greatness because some brilliant people write there and the left is unable to dispute their facts. The left won’t debate these individuals because the left knows they are beaten before they start. The facts are on the side of American Greatness writers.

        Nonetheless Anonymous the Stupid responds to an article through character assassination. One cannot respond by using character assassination against Anonymous the Stupid because he has no character. His name gives him more credit than he deserves.

        Jonathan Turley is well within his rights to delete anything I post. Anonymous the Stupid is venting his pent up emotions that he is unable to verbally or otherwise express. Anonymous the Stupid should take a cold shower.

        Should it be deleted the title is “Why Are Democrats So Afraid of Election Audits? Democrats claim election audits like the one in Arizona are an existential threat to democracy, but it’s difficult to see how—unless they reveal that our elections have been hijacked.” By Charlie Kirk https://amgreatness.com/2021/05/22/why-are-democrats-so-afraid-of-election-audits/

        1. S. Meyer says that he uses S. Meyer, rather than Anonymous or Anonymous SM, when he posts something “special.”

          lol

          One can’t place any stock in what he says, but with that said:

          Trump lost. Move on.

          S. Meyer is a knucklehead and there’s a good reason that certain people on this blog have stopped responding to anything that he posts.

          1. “over 2,500 campuses” It’s a great organization and one to donate should one be interested. Their events have energy. The young are energetic and smart. That is something Anonymous the Stupid envies.

            Charlie Kirk
            Since its founding, Turning Point USA has embarked on a mission to build the most organized, active, and powerful conservative grassroots activist network on high school and college campuses across the country. With a presence on over 2,500 campuses, Turning Point USA is the largest and fastest-growing youth organization in America.

            WHAT WE BELIEVE

            The United States of America is the greatest country in the history of the world.
            The US Constitution is the most exceptional political document ever written.
            Capitalism is the most moral and proven economic system ever discovered.

            https://www.tpusa.com/about

            1. “Leaked Memo From Conservative Group Cautions Students to Stay Away From Turning Point USA”

              By Michael Vasquez
              JUNE 15, 2018

              https://www.chronicle.com/article/leaked-memo-from-conservative-group-cautions-students-to-stay-away-from-turning-point-usa/

              True then…, and still true.

              Excerpt:

              Charlie Kirk and his right-wing youth organization Turning Point USA could inflict “long-term damage” on the conservative movement and conservative students, according to a leaked memo from Young America’s Foundation.
              In its six years of existence, Turning Point USA has repeatedly been accused of engaging in half-truths and unethical behavior — whether secretly funneling money to student-government candidates or placing college faculty members on a poorly researched (and arguably McCarthyesque) Professor Watchlist.

              None of that has slowed the meteoric rise of the conservative group and its charismatic leader, Charlie Kirk. Kirk continues to be a regular guest on Fox News. He rubs elbows with the Trump family and Republican members of Congress. Donors gave his organization nearly $10 million last year.

              But the latest critic to blast Kirk’s group is a fellow conservative organization. Young America’s Foundation, founded more than 50 years ago at the home of William F. Buckley Jr., has written a blistering 12-page memorandum (reprinted below) “outlining the lack of integrity, honesty, experience, and judgment of this growing organization.”

              “The long-term damage TPUSA could inflict on conservative students and the Conservative Movement can no longer be ignored,” states the May 25 memo, written by Kimberly Begg, vice president and general counsel of Young America’s.

              — The Chronicle of Higher Education.

              1. Turning Point USA and YAF have in common many notable conservatives whose names we would all recognize. What is the problem? The best way to explain the problem is to point to Lynn Cheney and how she lost her position in the Republican Party. There are establishment Republicans that will not have anything to do with Donald Trump. She is probably one of those establishment Republicans and perhaps a Never Trumper.

                That discusses a division of ideas in the Republican Party. This article is libeling TPUSA. Take note of how they leave out what the report claims to be mistruths. TPUSA is an honest organization that threatens the Republican status quo, which is a good idea.

                If one knew Bill Buckley (mentioned in the article), one would recognize that he would reach out to TPUSA with open arms. What is being said is a smokescreen for, ’TPUSA is engaging students, the only thing we can do is libel the group and its founder.’

                That is what you are best at Anonymous the Stupid, libel.

              1. Turning Point USA and YAF have in common many notable conservatives whose names we would all recognize. What is the problem? The best way to explain the problem is to point to Lynn Cheney and how she lost her position in the Republican Party. There are establishment Republicans that will not have anything to do with Donald Trump. She is probably one of those establishment Republicans and perhaps a Never Trumper.

                That discusses a division of ideas in the Republican Party. This article is libeling TPUSA. Take note of how they leave out what the report claims to be mistruths. TPUSA is an honest organization that threatens the Republican status quo, which is a good idea.

                If one knew Bill Buckley (mentioned in the article), one would recognize that he would reach out to TPUSA with open arms. What is being said is a smokescreen for, ’TPUSA is engaging students, the only thing we can do is libel the group and its founder.’

                That is what you are best at Anonymous the Stupid, libel.

  3. OT: Regarding prior discussions on Biden corruption.
    —-
    Former FBI director Louis Freeh gave $100,000 to a private trust for Joe Biden’s grandchildren

    Former FBI director Louis Freeh gave $100,000 to a private trust for Joe Biden’s grandchildren and met with the then-Vice President in 2016 ‘to explore with him some future work options’, emails reveal.

    Freeh also spoke with then-Vice President Biden in 2016 ‘to explore with him some future work options’, according to the bombshell communications

    The emails suggest Freeh was trying to establish a future business relationship with Biden – and the White House has failed to disclose to DailyMail.com whether Joe Biden discussed private business with Freeh while in office.

    According to the messages, obtained by DailyMail.com from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, the former FBI director was working for three foreign businessmen and officials at the time, who were all later convicted of various corruption charges, including a multi-billion-dollar ransacking of a Malaysian wealth fund.

    Cont: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9571753/Former-FBI-director-Louis-Freeh-gave-100-000-private-trust-Joe-Bidens-grandchildren.html

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