NY AG Joins State Criminal Investigation of Trump

The New York Attorney General announced it has joined the New York DA's criminal investigation of the Trump Organization. Previously, the AG's investigation was civil rather than criminal.

A spokesman for the state's top prosecutor, Letitia James, said the inquiry into Mr Trump's property company was "no longer purely civil"....We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA."

The AG spokesman said it has notified the Trump Organization of the change in status. According to the New York Times, it's about Trump Org. Chief Financial Officer Alan Weisselberg and his family. [More...]

The Times reports that two assistant attorney generals will now work from Cyrus Vance's office in a joint capacity.

At issue is whether Weisselberg and his sons paid taxes on the numerous generous benefits they received from Trump Org. There have been reports about this for months. One of his sons received a condo at 100 Central Park South and payment of his child's tuition at a pricey private school.

Weiselberg's ex-daughter-in-law has said she was subpoenaed and turned over a trove of documents to the D.A. I saw her on some TV show saying she thinks Alan Weisselberg will flip if they threaten to charge his sons. The couple went through a bitter divorce.

This Bloomberg article from November, 2020 has a pretty good synopsis on the Weisselbergs.

Vanity Fair and the Wall St. Journal have also reported the DA's office has been trying to turn Weiselberg.

NPR reports another matter the Attorney General's office is looking into is whether there was "a pattern of undervaluing properties on certain official forms and grossly overvaluing them on others to avoid paying taxes." If so, criminal charges could result.

I think it's too early to get excited about this development. I don't have much interest in whether Weisselberg or his sons get charged with a crime. And nothing yet suggests Donald Trump personally is a subject or target of the AG's investigation. If that changes, I may get interested.

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    Luntz might be right (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 22, 2021 at 07:26:15 AM EST
    "No one knows for sure, but some Republicans are increasingly discussing the possibility."

    "Criminal charges would, at the very least, create political problems for Trump, but allies and analysts said they would not necessarily prevent him from campaigning for Republicans in 2022 congressional races and even pursuing another presidential campaign in 2024."

    Sadi GOP pollster Frank Luntz: "None of this matters. It doesn't matter for his decision making or for anyone who votes for him... It's just so irrelevant."

    But he doesn't discuss what that might mean for the party.  Personally I don't think it would be one any level "good" for their long or short term prospects.

    Personally I don't think it's irrelevant at all.

    Him (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat May 22, 2021 at 08:29:57 AM EST
    campaigning for anybody even without charges is going to greatly lessen the chances of the GOP taking over congress simply because the GOP has to flip the swing districts where Trump is loathed.

    Frank Luntz (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 22, 2021 at 02:43:07 PM EST
    presents a compelling argument that ...al of this matters. And, Republicans are scared

    Out of spite (none / 0) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 22, 2021 at 05:23:59 PM EST
    On Saturday, writing for USA TODAY, David Jackson suggested that if former President Donald Trump himself ends up being charged with a crime as a result of the New York investigation into his business practices, it would not necessarily do anything to injure his standing within the Republican Party if he wanted to continue leading the party.

    In fact, he wrote, it could even make it more likely he runs for president again in 2024 -- out of spite.

    "If anything, indictments over past business practices might trigger Trump to mount another campaign if only to spite his enemies, some Republicans who spoke to USA TODAY said," wrote Jackson. "The ex-president and his supporters would claim that indictments are the products of a Democratic plot to derail him and his agenda."

    Criminal charges, criminal conviction. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Chuck0 on Sat May 22, 2021 at 11:15:14 AM EST
    None of it matters to the cult. They will follow him off a cliff (one can only hope). These people are now no different than the Manson family, the Peoples Temple, etc. That orange skinned reprobate could personally put Pence on the scaffold and they would cheer him on. Luntz IS right.

    It doesn't matter to the cult (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 22, 2021 at 11:53:53 AM EST
    It will matter to a significant number of republicans.  IMO the cult wont win any more presidential elections.  No matter how much they cheat.

    It's a big problem down ticket but it's not irrelevant to Trump and his influence on elections.


    By down ticket (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 22, 2021 at 11:55:56 AM EST
    I mean state and local government.  The cult is definitely a problem there.  

    convened (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 25, 2021 at 04:45:23 PM EST
    So I am assuming (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 25, 2021 at 05:44:49 PM EST
    they have managed to make it through all the documents if they are convening a grand jury? I wonder how long it will take before indictments are issued?

    Betting pool? (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 25, 2021 at 05:50:28 PM EST

    Depends whether the GJ was convened (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Peter G on Tue May 25, 2021 at 07:30:43 PM EST
    to have the benefit of its subpoena power, so as to continue an investigation that has stalled or seemingly hit a dead end, or whether the DA has a case already wrapped up in a bow that he want to present to the grand jurors in the hope and expectation of getting approval for an indictment that is already drafted. Could be either.

    Please explain the diference between a (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Wed May 26, 2021 at 09:21:53 PM EST
    Federal  subpoena and a grand jury sub. Thank you.  

    Apples and oranges. A grand jury may be either (none / 0) (#27)
    by Peter G on Wed May 26, 2021 at 10:21:55 PM EST
    state or federal. A subpoena may be issued in either a state or federal case, either by a grand jury or a trial court (either for discovery, in a civil case, or for trial, in a criminal or civil case). The investigation we are presently discussing is a state/county grand jury operating under NY State law and can investigate only state crimes. Typically a prosecutor would have no legal authority to compel anyone to provide evidence or testimony directly to their office. (I don't know NY law, but I am presuming this is true in NY state.) A grand jury, on the other hand, is (technically) an "arm of the court" (either local court or federal court, as the case may be) and can issue subpoenas on the court's authority, which compel either testimony or production (i.e., delivery) of physical evidence or both. Although in reality, the GJ typically acts at the behest of the prosecutor who is presenting or developing a case before that GJ. A "federal subpoena" means a subpoena that was issued on the authority of a federal court, either by a federal grand jury (to investigate federal crimes, under the guidance of a federal prosecutor) or by a federal trial court at the request of either of the parties to a criminal or civil case to compel the presentation of evidence at a trial, or by either party in aid of pretrial discovery in a civil case. (Most jurisdictions do not allow subpoenas to obtain evidence for pretrial discovery purposes in a criminal case.)

    I guess I derailed at (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Wed May 26, 2021 at 11:57:44 PM EST
    prosecutor hitting a dead end.   .  

    Most criminal investigations are conducted (none / 0) (#29)
    by Peter G on Thu May 27, 2021 at 08:36:12 PM EST
    by the police (or other law enforcement agency), or by police in conjunction with a DA's office, neither of which have subpoena power in most jurisdictions. They may seek and obtain a warrant by applying to a judge, but cannot compel a witness to talk to them or to bring in certain evidence. That takes a subpoena, which only a grand jury can order (pretrial).

    Could do that (none / 0) (#24)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 25, 2021 at 06:21:44 PM EST
    but I was wondering if any of our legal eagles would weigh in on generally how long something like this takes.

    My husband was on a federal grand jury a couple of times in the 90's. IIRC the whole grand jury process did not take that long.


    Atlantic (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 20, 2021 at 07:16:01 AM EST
    This (none / 0) (#3)
    by FlJoe on Fri May 21, 2021 at 08:13:52 AM EST
    sentence bugs the crap out of me
    America is inching closer to a possibility it has never seen before: the indictment and trial of a former president.
    Aside from the silly phrasing(IMO), it has never been impossible to indict a former president, at least Gerald Ford thought so.

    The content is equally frustrating, I am so tired of this fking "inching" towards any  type of accountability. As far as I am concerned we have gone backwards since Nixon. I am sick of tired of the "inches" we gained in Watergate, Iran-Contra, 9/11, Fitzgerald, Mueller, impeachments.....

    Inching toward justice or slouching towards Bethlehem? It's a close call.  


    Semantics (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 21, 2021 at 08:27:45 AM EST
    in fact we are "inching" toward something that has never happened before.  Indictment and trial of a former president.  

    I want Cy to inch.  I want every "I" dotted and every "t" crossed because the pushback is going to be full throttle.   And all that is at stake is the future of the country.

    I absolutely believe we will not escape Trump until he is in jail.  Cys job is to grab the greased pig that has escaped so much accountability for so long.  Take your time and make it stick is my suggestion.

    As far as the headline I don't think the author writes them.

    Relax.  It's coming.  Probably just in time for the midterms.

    Why Tish James Joined the Trump Criminal Probe

    May 21, 2021 at 6:32 am EDT By Taegan Goddard 47 Comments

    Renato Mariotti: "Wednesday's announcement didn't materially change the liability Trump faces given that the DA's office already had a criminal investigation underway. But James' recent moves (including her decision to publicly join the criminal probe) are a sign that the evidence amassed by prosecutors is substantial and will likely result in charges. James wouldn't rush to embrace a weak case. That should make Trump very concerned."

    Another point that has been made (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 21, 2021 at 08:30:36 AM EST
    is we so often hear about Trumps legal perils from leaks.  This was not a leak.   It was a public statement.  IMO that alone is a sign we are inching closer and closer.

    Isn't the Tr*mp Organization also exposed (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Thu May 20, 2021 at 09:20:53 AM EST
    -- potentially criminally -- for tax fraud based on its handling of the conservation easement on the property in Westchester County, NY? And thus any individual who was personally involved in the transactions?

    In-laws (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 21, 2021 at 11:25:59 AM EST
    The former daughter-in-law of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg told CNN that he will flip on former President Donald Trump amid a criminal investigation into his taxes.

    She also says she has hard evidence that Trump paid for her kids' tuition.

    Everybody (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri May 21, 2021 at 02:31:24 PM EST
    who knows Weisselberg says that he will flip on Trump it seems. Apparently his kids are in a heap of trouble and Weisselberg will flip to keep them out of jail.

    I hope it is in time for midterms.


    The TImes reporter on Rachel (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 21, 2021 at 02:53:46 PM EST
    Thinks it will be by the fall because Cy is leaving and she thinks he will want to be the one that brings it.

    It feels like it's moving.  To me.


    Well, (none / 0) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri May 21, 2021 at 03:04:39 PM EST
    it definitely IS moving IMO. Just how fast none of us really know.

    Glenn Kirschner said for Tish James to join the criminal fray there must be some really hard evidence against Trump.


    No pay wall (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 22, 2021 at 01:16:06 PM EST
    Sliding toward irrelevance (none / 0) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 22, 2021 at 06:07:37 PM EST
    I love that

    "On the Internet, former president Donald Trump is sliding toward something he has fought his entire life: irrelevance," the Washington Post reports.

    "Online talk about him has plunged to a five-year low. He's banned or ignored on pretty much every major social media venue. In the last week, Trump's website -- including his new blog, fundraising page and online storefront ­-- attracted fewer estimated visitors than the pet-adoption service Petfinder and the recipe site Delish."

    "Social engagement around Trump -- a measure of likes, reactions, comments or shares on content about him across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest -- has nosedived 95 percent since January, to its lowest level since 2016."

    Amazing he still has a death grip on the party.  It's not natural.

    Does (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by FlJoe on Sun May 23, 2021 at 12:08:10 PM EST
    tRump(or his handlers) hold some kind of doomsday weapon over the GOP?

    Even without the social media ban it was a good bet tRumps influence on the media and his base was going wane. I understand the GOP's fear of his base but I think they could have skated with them by ignoring rather than enabling him.

    I actually thought that McConell and McCarthy made a stark and unequivocal political decision to throw tRump under the bus after Jan 6 but within weeks totally reversed course, a truly stunning whiplash, even in the age of tRump.

    What scared them? They had to know they would face the somewhat muted criticism from Trump, yet they folded their cards immediately for no apparent reason. I don't get it.


    I always (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 23, 2021 at 12:57:51 PM EST
    get back to the fact that the Russians hacked the RNC as well as the DNC in 2016 and the RNC emails went to who? I would guess Putin and I would also guess Trump who has used, my guess, to blackmail Republicans. I don't buy this whole base argument because once the opportunity for a primary challenge to emerge they don't change.