The Trump Organization is now being investigated “in a criminal capacity.” What does that mean?
Trump hasn’t cooperated with the investigations, but a Supreme Court decision in February allowed the investigators access to the documents that were being withheld.
Why is Donald Trump being investigated?
- The main things being investigated have to do with the former president’s business practices within his company, the Trump Organization.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James is in charge of investigating any sketchy real estate transactions or other questionable deals that the Trump Organization took part in.
- Manhattan District Attorney (DA) Cyrus Vance Jr. is in charge of investigating whether insurance or financial fraud took place. He’s also responsible for pursuing allegations that two women who had affairs with Trump were paid to keep quiet about it.
- The former president has called the investigations “political persecution” and a “witch hunt.” Trump hasn’t cooperated with the investigations, but a Supreme Court decision in February allowed the investigators access to the documents that were being withheld.
What’s the big deal about a criminal investigation?
- Actually, the state investigation being done by Letitia James started as an investigation into the Trump Organization’s taxes.
- That began after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, told Congress in 2019 that the organization had done some sketchy things in regards to how it valued its assets.
- Cohen testified that the organization would make the value of its assets look bigger in order to receive larger loans from banks. The organization would then massively deflate the value of its assets when it came time to pay taxes to pay less.
- According to Melissa Murray, a law professor at New York University, the investigation may have changed from a civil to a criminal one because new facts were uncovered that point to criminal fraud.
- But Murray also warned against speculation. “We don’t really have a lot of information,” she said, “and I think we are unlikely to have a lot of information until this becomes more fully developed.”
What does all this mean for the Manhattan DA race?
- Since Vance will be leaving office after his term ends, the future of the investigation will partly depend on the results of the upcoming District Attorney race in Manhattan.
- The Democratic primary for that race is scheduled in June. Because Manhattan is overwhelmingly Democratic, the winner of the Democratic primary is very likely to go on to win the general election.
- There are eight different candidates running in the primary. All of them have said that they’re completely willing to take on the Trump case, but they’ve also tried to stay away from seeming too anti-Trump without having seen all the facts.
- “It is more vital now than ever, that the office of the district attorney be understood not to be a political office, that the district attorney not be perceived to be in bed with anyone,” said candidate Lucy Lang.
Have a tip or story? Get in touch with our reporters at email@example.com