A new virus has emerged in China and a cycle of presidential elections has unfolded as investigators in New York scrambled to investigate the Trump Organization’s business practices.
They are still there. No charges have yet been laid against former President Donald Trump himself – and it’s not guaranteed that they will be – but state-level investigators still have a lot of work to do. And since details are sometimes hard to come by, we have a lot of questions.
Here is where the investigations are.
Who is watching what?
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office began investigating the Trump Organization after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and fixative, turned on his boss in 2018. Under Cyrus Vance Jr. and now Alvin Bragg ― Vance chose not to run for re-election last year ― The Manhattan District Attorney is currently conducting an extensive criminal investigation.
The main themes are tax evasion and evasion. The questions include whether the Trump Organization, largely a real estate company, improperly inflated the value of its assets in order to obtain loans and then deflated the value of its assets in order to pay less money. taxes.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is also heavily involved here. James led a civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices, and last year added a criminal investigation to accompany it. James’ office and Bragg’s office work closely together on the criminal side of things.
What’s the latest?
On Thursday, James scored a victory: New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled that the Trump family must comply with subpoenas issued by the New York Attorney General’s office at the end of last year as part of his civil investigation. In its decision, Engoron ordered Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. to sit down to testify within the next three weeks. All have had leadership roles to play in the family business at different times.
Of course, the Trumps don’t have to answer every question, because the Fifth Amendment gives them the right to remain silent to avoid incriminating themselves. Indeed, the only member of the Trump clan who has ever testified ― Eric Trump ― pleaded the fifth more than 500 times when he sat under oath for six hours in October 2020, according to court documents.
The Trumps also plan to appeal Engoron’s decision, according to The New York Times. Donald Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, had argued in a hearing Thursday morning that the former president was being unfairly prosecuted for his political views, but the judge dismissed the argument.
Engoron said in his ruling that “the impetus for the investigation was not personal animosity, or racial or ethnic discrimination, or campaign promises, but the sworn testimony to Congress of the former associate of Trump’s Michael Cohen, who said the respondents were “preparing the books,” noted that James’ office uncovered “extensive evidence of possible financial fraud.”
Last week, another piece of news rocked the Trump Organization when its accounting firm, Mazars USA, said it was dropping the company as a client and should not “rely on nine years of financial records “.
Has anyone from the Trump Organization ever been criminally charged?
Yes. Last summer, a grand jury returned an indictment against the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, who has worked for the Trump family since 1973, as well as the Trump Organization itself. The charges, brought by Vance, relate to an alleged tax evasion scheme spanning from 2005 to 2021.
Prosecutors say the company kept two sets of books: one to internally track everything that was actually spent on executive benefits, and one to share with tax preparers. Weisselberg is accused of dodging taxes by accepting payments in the form of cars, garage fees, home renovations and college tuition for his family members. He also allegedly hid the fact that he was living in New York City, avoiding city taxes, by living in property owned by Trump. According to the indictment, Weisselberg accepted consequential compensation totaling some $1.76 million.
As Jennifer Weisselberg, the ex-wife of one of Weisselberg’s sons, explained the arrangement to The New Yorker: “They pay you with apartments and other stuff, as a control tactic, so you can’t leave. They own you! You have to do all the corrupt bullshit they ask.
In November, multiple outlets reported that a second long-term grand jury had been convened for six months to potentially weigh more charges against the Trump Organization.
James’ civil investigation could also lead to legal action in the form of a lawsuit against the Trump Organization or certain leaders, meaning the Trumps could eventually be forced to pay a settlement. According to The Associated Press, court documents say James has until at least April to decide whether to take legal action.
Who has Trump’s taxes?
Bragg does. Or rather, it has a lot of this information.
In February 2021, the Supreme Court ordered the Trump Organization and Mazars USA to turn over eight years of financial records, from 2011 to 2019, including tax returns – a treasure trove of millions of pages.
The Huffington Gt