Trump has been fighting document summons for three years. So why didn’t Manhattan DA get a search warrant?

Portrait of Donald Trump in a dark suit and red tie

Former US President Donald Trump will leave the Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City on July 19, 2021.James Devaney / GC Images

  • Former Manhattan DA investigator does not understand: why is there no Donald Trump investigation warrant?

  • Trump has been successful in fighting documentary subpoenas for three years until Thursday.

  • Other former Manhattan prosecutors have stated that the investigation warrant could actually interfere with the investigation.

Former Supreme Prosecutor of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office noted that former President Donald Trump managed his business files out of the hands of local investigators through a three-year subpoena and court battle. Deserves it. “

Only on Thursday, a Manhattan judge Order to comply with Trump In a series of New York Attorney General’s subpoenas for former President’s testimony and personal business documents, AG believes he has Stored in his headquarters At Trump Tower.

But why did former Manhattan DA research chief Adam Kaufmann enter the Trump Tower with an empty box and a search warrant when both AG and DA are conducting parallel investigations? I was wondering.

Trump has repeatedly denied cheating.

In other words, why rely on the more pretty and drawn process of civil summons — AG Letitia James made the first request for Trump’s business documents in early 2019.

“This is noteworthy,” Kaufman told insiders about the long battle over Trump’s files.

“So far, the Trump Organization has succeeded in avoiding disclosure of Trump’s own involvement and knowledge, or the record itself, which directly points to its lack,” he said.

“This is what I don’t understand,” added Kaufmann, a partner specializing in white-collar crime defense at Luis Birch Kaufman Middlemis.

“If this is true and the Trump Organization still has documents that make up the evidence, why did the DA not track those documents in any way, or because they did not create them, track the Trump Organization. Didn’t you? “

The Manhattan DA office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Still, search warrants can be a problem.

“Professionals obviously don’t have to trust the company, they just bring things,” said Daniel R. Alonso, who followed Cyrus Vance in his first term as former Chief Assistant DA.

“There’s a surprise to the search warrant,” said Alonso, a partner at Buckley LLP.

“It’s a great tool when the investigation was hidden until that moment.”

The disadvantage is that obtaining a search warrant “requires a large amount of resources and can be challenged if you make a mistake about a possible cause or if you seize a document that is beyond the scope of the warrant. “.

White-collar lawyer John Moscow, who has charged complex financial crimes at Manhattan DA’s office, said the law enforcement warrant could work well if law enforcement agencies wanted to seize physical evidence such as guns, drugs, and money. It states that it has sex.

“I know something is there, I know where it is, and sometimes I grab it before it moves,” Moscow told insiders.

But when investigators are looking for paper, he said it’s usually a better route to subpoening anyone who has the paper.

In that case, that person needs to collect responsive documents. You will then be asked to sit down and provide context for each page.

“If it’s a paperwork, as a prosecutor, someone needs to sit down to guide the paperwork and say what the document is,” said Moscow, senior counsel of Luis Birch. ..

“With a subpoena, that’s much more likely. You can’t do that with a search warrant.”

Then there’s the question of whether the document James was originally looking for would still be created three years later.

In a court document filed in January, James found a third-party document search company hired by Trump officials to assist in the collection of all summoned documents under court order. He complained that he did not provide enough support.

“Now it’s the second half of the game,” Alonso said. “Even if I have physical documents of smoking guns, without suggesting any disadvantages, they are unlikely to be there yet,” three years later.

Nevertheless, hiding or destroying documents can infest the defendant.

First of all, it is illegal and punished for contempt of court.

“The state has stronger laws in this regard than federal law,” Alonso said. “A company or individual can be insulted.”

And destroying a document can be a big backfire.

“”[DC-based defense lawyer] “No document is more damaging than a document that can be proven to exist,” said Bob Bennett. Moscow said, “But it has not been created.”

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