Politics

Cyrus Vance, Letitia James leading investigations

For more than two years, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been digging deep into the operations of the Trump family business for possible fraud involving banks, insurance companies and taxing entities with a focus on whether the company manipulated property values to obtain favorable loans and reduced tax rates.

Prosecutors also have been weighing hush-money payments made to women on Trump’s behalf and how that money was documented.

Last month, James announced that a parallel civil inquiry had escalated to a criminal probe and that state authorities had joined Vance’s investigation.

The New York prosecutor won a major public victory in February when Trump’s accounting firm was forced to turn over eight years of tax records as part of a protracted legal battle that ended at the Supreme Court.

Vance’s investigation appeared to have accelerated last month with the disclosure that a special grand jury had been convened to consider possible evidence of criminality by the president, his business associates or the company itself.

Jennifer Weisselberg, Michael Cohen cooperating in Trump Organization probe

Among those cooperating in the inquiry are Jennifer Weisselberg, the former daughter-in-law of the Trump Organization executive, along with former Trump personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.

Duncan Levin, the attorney representing Jennifer Weisselberg, said his client has provided at least 10 boxes of information to prosecutors and has pledged to provide testimony to a grand jury or at trial, if needed.

Levin also said his client was present during conversations in which Trump discussed providing fringe benefits, including school tuition and apartment renovations, in lieu of salary for the Trump executive. Levin said Jennifer Weisselberg has provided accounts of those conversations to prosecutors.

Cohen, meanwhile, has acknowledged meeting with New York prosecutors multiple times in cooperation with their investigation.

Cohen has told USA TODAY that he would not comment on any aspect of the case, citing the ongoing investigation and his potential role in it as a key witness for the prosecution. But he has commented extensively on Twitter on how grand jury proceedings significantly accelerate the investigation.

Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges that included campaign-finance violations for paying hush money to women who claimed to have had sex with Trump and for lying to Congress, has repeatedly pointed to Weisselberg as most knowledgeable of the former president’s business operations.

 

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