The prosecutors, Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, submitted their resignations this week to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in the investigation into former President Donald J. Trump and his business practices. The resignations came after Bragg reportedly questioned the case against Trump. The challenge in such cases is that companies regularly manipulate the stated value of their assets for tax or loan purposes, particularly in the real estate area. [Update: Bragg denies dropping case and has appointed Susan Hoffinger to lead a squad of about 25 lawyers, paralegals and analysts, according to the Washington Post).
The two prosecutors were calling witnesses before the grand jury but suddenly stopped doing so.
It would be difficult for new prosecutors to simply pick up such a long investigation in the middle of a grand jury proceeding. The grand jury itself is scheduled to expire in a matter of weeks. The investigation began under Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
As common as overvaluing and undervaluing is in real estate, Trump’s organization has long been a standout in the practice. Indeed, his accounting firm recently notified the Trump Organization that it would no longer work with the company and instructed the company to notify anyone who had received the statements that they “should not be relied upon.”
Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, admitted to such loose accounting practices. For example, on the value of Trump’s penthouse in Trump Tower, Weisselberg acknowledged that the company had overvalued the apartment by “give or take” $200 million.
In the meantime, Weisselberg himself has been indicted. His counsel are moving for a dismissal of the case. The most interesting element in that case is that Weisselberg was previously given immunity to testify in the investigation of Trump’s fixer (and now foe) Michael Cohen. They are arguing that the prosecution is not only based on immunized information but that state prosecutors lack the authority to bring charges based on federal tax filings.
New York Attorney General Lelitia James is also investigating Trump but lacks the authority to bring criminal charges. She has filed court documents describing alleged misrepresentations on the value of Trump properties. James however has shown a strikingly different approach to other organizations accused of financial and taxation irregularities.