‘Cloud of nerves’ is hanging over Trump after grand jury announcement: Aides fear CFO Allen Weisselberg will flip and ex-prosecutor says Manhattan will get the ‘mother lode’ of evidence
- The grand jury will ‘get everything,’ a former federal prosecutor said
- Washington Post reported Manhattan DA has convened a special grand jury
- He has been probing potential tax and insurance fraud by Trump Organization
- Advisor cited ‘cloud of nerves’ in Trump land
- Trump called it ‘a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history’
- He called a potential prosecution ‘purely political’
Reports that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has convened a special grand jury as part of his probe of his probe of the Trump Organization has goosed anxiety in the former president’s inner circle.
The report is an indication that Vance may in fact already be presenting evidence to the grand jury – raising the possibility of a potential indictment this year.
Vance has obtained Trump’s tax return information after a long legal battle that went to the Supreme Court, and has joined forces with New York State Attorney General Letitia James, whose office confirmed it is undertaking a criminal probe.
‘The grand jury’s going to get everything and that’s true,” former Federal prosecutor Harry Litman told MSNBC after news broke on the secret grand jury.
President Donald Trump called a potential prosecution ‘purely political,’ following reports Manhattan DA Cy Vance has convened a special grand jury in his probe of the Trump Organization
‘We know that the — that was the inception of the case, but then, they got the mother lode. They got the tax returns, going back and forth to the Supreme Court twice to get them,’ he added.
The intense legal pressure on longtime Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg is adding to the drama. Legal experts have identified the company executive as someone with vast knowledge with company workings who could ‘connect the dots’ in a potential prosecution.
‘There’s definitely a cloud of nerves in the air,’ and advisor told Politico.
‘I think the Weisselberg involvement and the wild card of that makes the particular situation more real, because there’s no sort of fluff and made-up fictional circumstances around the guy.’
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. is stepping down at the end of the year, putting time pressure on the probe
Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg faces pressure following reports that the company paid expensive private school tuition for his grandchildren
A former federal prosecutor said the Stormy Daniels sage represented the ‘MO’ of how the company did business, which could bring legal exposure. Longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen made payments to the former porn star who claims she had an affair with Trump
Former federal prosecutor Harry Litman said the grand jury would get the ‘mother lode’ of information on the Trump Organization
‘The fact that they’re dealing with a numbers guy who just has plain details makes people more nervous. This is not a Michael Cohen situation,’ said the advisor.
Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general during the Clinton administration, pointed to the potential prosecutors will uncover financial irregularities.
‘So, that takes all kinds of transactions of this sort and forms the basis for possibly multiple counts where people surmise and it stands to reason that it’s a similar kind of hanky-panky – changing the way you valuate same properties, one for tax to make it look low, one for loans to make it look high. That’s fraud on both entities,’ he said.
He was referencing claims by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who testified that the company inflated property valuations for securing lending, then low-balled them at tax time. He also referenced the Stormy Daniels scandal, where Cohen provided $130,000 in payments that he got reimbursement for from company funds for the former porn star who claims she had an affair with Trump. Trump denies the affair.
‘And I think what is happening, likely, is a plethora of transactions like that, like that core one with Stormy Daniels, which we are learning is sort of the Trump way of doing business, the general MO, and also including Weisselberg,” he said.
He said prosecutors would present a ‘rolling narrative,’ and that ‘it is certainly their intention now for this kind of grand jury to be asking for charges at the end of the day against one or more person.’
He noted that Vance has said he will step down at the end of the year. ‘He’s going to want to make the charging decision,’ he said.
As for the pressure on Weisselberg, he said: ‘This is hardball. This is really putting the squeeze to a 73-year-old father. This is tough, tough stuff.
Trump blasted the developments and hit at prosecutors in a statement Tuesday from his Save America PAC.
‘This is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. It began the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower, and it’s never stopped. They wasted two years and $48 million in taxpayer dollars on Mueller and Russia Russia Russia, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and it continues to this day, with illegally leaked confidential information,’ Trump wrote.
‘No other President in history has had to put up with what I have had to, and on top of all that, I have done a great job for our Country, whether it’s taxes, regulations, our Military, Veterans, Space Force, our Borders, speedy creation of a great vaccine (said to be a miracle!), and protecting the Second Amendment,’ he said.
‘This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors.’
He also referenced his own potential political ambitions – which could figure in a legal defense.
‘Interesting that today a poll came out indicating I’m far in the lead for the Republican Presidential Primary and the General Election in 2024. Our Country is broken, our elections are rigged, corrupt, and stolen, our prosecutors are politicized, and I will just have to keep on fighting like I have been for the last five years!’
Who’s who in New York criminal probe into Trump
New York state has opened a criminal investigation into former US president Donald Trump (pictured November 2020)
A Democratic prosecutor nearing the end of his term, a loyal lieutenant of the Trump family and a lawyer determined to sink his former boss: AFP details some of the players in New York’s criminal probe into Donald Trump.
The 66-year-old Democrat has been Manhattan District Attorney since 2010. He was the first to launch a criminal investigation into the Republican ex-president.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (pictured May 2020) has doggedly pursued Donald Trump, winning a years-long battle to obtain his tax records and deploying significant human and financial resources to the politically sensitive investigation
Vance, whose father was US Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter, has sometimes been accused of a reluctance to prosecute the rich and powerful.
He delayed filing charges against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein before securing a landmark conviction last year.
Vance has doggedly pursued Trump, though, first by winning a years-long battle to obtain his tax records and secondly by deploying significant human and financial resources to the politically sensitive investigation.
He has announced that he will not run for a fourth term when his current one expires in December, and many observers expect him to go out with a bang by filing what would be the first indictment against a former US president.
The Democrat became the first Black woman to become New York state attorney general in 2018.
Since then, the 62-year-old has forged a reputation as a combative and independent prosecutor, filing countless civil actions against large companies, particularly tech giants, and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
In addition to Donald Trump, Letitia James (pictured August 2020) is also investigating New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations and his response to the coronavirus pandemic
When Trump was in the White House, James launched dozens of civil actions against his government.
She is also investigating New York’s powerful Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations and his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
James has been cited as a possible successor to Cuomo, particularly if her investigation forces him to resign.
The 73-year-old is the Trump Organization’s long-serving chief financial officer and one of the family’s most loyal servants.
He began as an accountant for Trump’s father’s company before joining the Trump Organization as financial controller in the 1980s when Donald established himself as a Manhattan real estate mogul.
Allen Weisselberg, pictured standing behind former president Donald Trump and his son Donald Jr. in January 2017, has served as the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization since the 1980s
Weisselberg has been around for all of Trump’s entrepreneurial adventures, including when his Atlantic City casinos went bust.
According to Barbara Res, a former executive vice president at the Trump Organization, Weisselberg ‘thought Trump was a god,’ she told the Daily News.
Investigators believe Weisselberg knows all of the Trump family secrets and have been putting pressure on him for months to cooperate with their investigation.
Observers are closely watching whether Weisselberg will turn against his former boss.
Trump’s ex-personal lawyer was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 for tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws relating to Trump’s 2016 vote win.
Cohen was one of Trump’s closest henchmen for a decade, once proudly boasting that he was prepared to ‘take a bullet’ for the real estate mogul-turned-president.
Michael Cohen, pictured March 2021, openly rejoices in former boss Donald Trump’s legal troubles on Twitter and through his podcast
He turned against his former boss, though, deciding to collaborate with federal investigators in Manhattan.
During a Congressional hearing in February 2019, Cohen alleged — among other things — that Trump regularly undervalued or overvalued his assets, both with banks and insurance companies.
Cohen openly rejoices in Trump’s legal troubles on Twitter and through his podcast ‘Mea Culpa.’
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