Former President Donald Trump, seen in December 2020. The New York District Attorney’s Office has convened a special grand jury to review evidence in a criminal investigation into Trump’s affairs, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. Evan Vucci / AP hide caption
Evan Vucci / AP
Evan Vucci / AP
NEW YORK – The New York District Attorney’s Office has convened a special grand jury to review evidence in a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business relationships, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The development signals that the Manhattan prosecutor’s office has been on indictment based on its two-year investigation into a lengthy legal battle over obtaining Trump’s tax records.
The person familiar with the matter was not allowed to speak publicly on condition of anonymity. The news was first reported by the Washington Post.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is conducting an extensive investigation into a variety of matters, such as: B. Hush money payments to women on Trump’s behalf, real estate appraisals, and employee compensation.
The Democratic prosecutor set up an investigative grand jury during his investigation to issue subpoenas and obtain documents. This body continued to work while other large juries and court activities were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The investigation includes a review of Trump’s relationship with his lenders; a land donation he made to qualify for income tax deduction; and tax write-offs his company took on the millions of dollars in consulting fees it paid.
Eventually, the new grand jury might be asked to consider returning charges. While working on this case, it will hear other matters as well. The Post reported that the grand jury will meet three days a week for six months.
Trump claims the investigation is a “witch hunt”.
“This is purely political and an affront to the nearly 75 million voters who backed me in the presidential election and it’s being pushed by highly partisan Democratic prosecutors,” Trump said in a statement.
Vance’s office declined to comment.
The new grand jury is the latest sign of increasing momentum in the criminal investigation against the former Republican president and his company, the Trump Organization.
Attorney General Letitia James said last week that she hired two lawyers to work with Vance’s office on the investigation after her civil investigation against Trump turned into a criminal case.
James, a Democrat, said her office is also continuing its civil investigation into Trump. She did not say what prompted her office to expand the investigation into a criminal investigation.
In recent months, Vance hired former Mafia prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to conduct the investigation and interviewed witnesses, including Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Vance declined to run for re-election and will be stepping down at the end of the year, meaning the Trump case will likely be passed on to his successor in some form or other. An election next month is sure to determine who that will be.
Trump said in a statement last week that he is “being unfairly attacked and abused by a corrupt political system”. He claims the investigation is part of a democratic conspiracy to silence his voters and prevent him from running again for president.
In February, the US Supreme Court backed Vance’s investigation by clearing the way for the prosecutor to enforce a subpoena against Trump’s accounting firm and grant eight years of tax returns and related documents for the former president, the Trump organization, and other Trump companies receive.
The documents are protected by the grand jury’s confidentiality rules and are unlikely to be published.
Vance’s investigation appeared to have focused on Trump’s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg in recent weeks. His former daughter-in-law Jen Weisselberg cooperates on both inquiries.
She has provided countless tax records and other documents to investigators to see if some Trump employees have received off-the-peg compensation, such as: B. Apartments or school fees.
Allen Weisselberg was summoned on James’ civil investigation and testified twice in the past year. His attorney declined to comment when asked Tuesday if he had been summoned to testify before the new grand jury.
A message asking for a comment was left with Jen Weisselberg’s lawyer.
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