New York prosecutors say Trump’s investigation is now a criminal

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The Attorney General’s office in New York states that it is investigating the Trump organization “from a criminal standpoint.”

A spokesman for Letitia James, the state’s chief prosecutor, said Mr. Trump’s investigation into a real estate company was “no longer purely civil.”

Ms. James has scrutinized the financial transactions of the former Republican President before he took office.

Trump denies cheating and says the investigation by democratic prosecutors is political revenge.

Ms. James spokesman Fabian Levy told the BBC on Tuesday:

“We are currently actively investigating the Trump organization from a criminal standpoint with Manhattan DA. No additional comments.”

The statement did not state why the investigation was essentially changed from civil to criminal, or whether the former president himself may have been personally involved in any allegations.

Civil lawsuits usually involve injuries to individuals or other private organizations, including businesses. Criminal law applies when damage is believed to affect society as a whole, including the state.

In March 2019, Ms. James began a civil investigation into Mr. Trump’s allegations that he inflated the value of his assets to banks when seeking loans, and conservatively said he would lower taxes.

Her office is also looking for documents on four Trump Organization properties in Manhattan, Northern New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a court document last August that his office was investigating allegations of “prolonged criminal activity” in the Trump organization.

Mr. Vance’s legal documents quoted a newspaper article on alleged banking and insurance fraud at the company.

The Manhattan District Attorney also investigated whether any of Mr. Trump’s financial records were made to a doctor in 2016 to conceal hash money payments to two women who said he had something to do with him. doing.

Mr. Vance’s office said in February that he had obtained Mr. Trump’s tax return as part of an investigation after a lengthy court battle.

Mr. Trump categorically refused to disclose his tax return, despite heavy pressure through his presidency.

Significant progress

Will Grant, BBC News, Washington DC

During his tenure, Donald Trump dismissed investigations into his financial and organizational transactions as a “witch hunt” of political motivation led by the Democratic Party.

But this latest development will plague him, as he no longer enjoys protection from prosecution. It is an important development that the former US president faces two criminal investigations instead of one, one of which could affect his political future.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James clearly believes that it has a sufficient role to justify moving the investigation from civil to criminal. Combined with the ongoing investigation of the former president’s tax return by Manhattan District Attorney Sai Vance, Mr. Trump sees a complex and intertwined court battle ahead. It is almost certainly unavoidable.