New York prosecutors have convened a special grand jury to consider whether to bring criminal charges against former President Donald Trump or other executives at the Trump Organization.
“The move indicates that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years,” The Washington Post reported. “It suggests, too, that Vance believes he has found evidence of a crime — if not by Trump then by someone potentially close to him or by his company.”
The panel was recently convened, is expected to sit for six months, and will hear other matters not related to the Trump case.
Vance’s investigation has centered around whether the value of Trump Organization properties were manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies and if tax benefits were illegally obtained by undervaluing the properties.
“It is also unclear when or even if the grand jury will be asked to consider returning any indictments,” The Post added. “Prosecutors handling cases such as this one can choose to present charges for the grand jury to consider — or not. A prosecutor’s grand-jury strategy is often a closely kept secret and can be subject to change.”
New York Democrat Attorney General Letitia James said last week that her office had launched a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization and was working with Vance.
“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the Organization is no longer purely civil in nature,” James’ office said in a statement. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA. We have no additional comment.”
Trump responded to the news last week by saying that it was a “corrupt” investigation “in desperate search of a crime.”
Trump said in part:
The Attorney General of New York literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me. She said that if elected, she would use her office to look into “every aspect” of my real estate dealings. She swore that she would “definitely sue” me. She boasted on video that she would be, and I quote, “a real pain in the ass.” She declared, “just wait until I’m in the Attorney General’s office,” and, “I’ve got my eyes on Trump Tower.” She also promised that, if elected, she would “join with law enforcement and other Attorney Generals [sic] across this nation in removing this President from office,” and, “It’s important that everyone understand that the days of Donald Trump are coming to an end.”
The Attorney General made each of these statements, not after having had an opportunity to actually look at the facts, but BEFORE she was even elected, BEFORE she had seen even a shred of evidence. This is something that happens in failed third world countries, not the United States. If you can run for a prosecutor’s office pledging to take out your enemies, and be elected to that job by partisan voters who wish to enact political retribution, then we are no longer a free constitutional democracy.
Trump Jr. posted a video on Twitter of James making those remarks and other remarks, including falsely calling Trump an “illegitimate” president.
This report has been updated to include additional information.
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