In October 2018, the New York Times published its Pulitzer Prize winning investigative report based upon the financial documents provided to it by Mary Trump. Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father.
The lede paragraph: “President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.”
That Times report led to Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, resigning from her lifetime appointment as a federal judge to end a civil misconduct inquiry launched after the report that she participated in Trump family schemes to dodge taxes. Trump’s sister retires, negating judicial ethics complaints.
In December 2018, the New York Times reported, Trump Foundation Will Dissolve, Accused of ‘Shocking Pattern of Illegality’:
The Donald J. Trump Foundation, once billed as the charitable arm of the president’s financial empire, agreed to dissolve on Tuesday and give away all its remaining assets under court supervision as part of an ongoing investigation and lawsuit by the New York attorney general.
The foundation was accused by the attorney general, Barbara Underwood, of “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” and of engaging in “a shocking pattern of illegality” that included unlawfully coordinating with Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In addition to shuttering the charity, her office has pursued a lawsuit that could bar President Trump and his three oldest children from the boards of other New York charities, as well as force the payment of millions in restitution and penalties.
“We’ll continue to move our suit forward,” Ms. Underwood said, “to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”
Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen provided three year’s worth of Trump financial records from 2011 to 2013 to Congress and testified that “It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes” such as getting onto the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans. Trump also deflated his assets when doing so helped his business interests, Cohen added.” Cohen releases Trump financial documents, claims president inflated net worth. Cohen’s congressional testimony described what amounts to bank fraud, insurance fraud, and tax evasion.
As part of his public testimony Wednesday, Cohen also revealed a check Trump paid to him to cover hush money payments to the adult film star Stormy Clifford to silence her claims in the run-up to the 2016 election that she had had an affair with Trump.
These are the predicate crimes of the Trump crime family that the offices of New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. are investigating.
The Times reports that Cyrus Vance on Monday filed his response to Trump’s team of lawyers seeking to quash a subpoena to Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA. D.A. Is Investigating Trump and His Company Over Fraud, Filing Suggests:
The Manhattan district attorney’s office suggested on Monday that it had been investigating President Trump and his company for possible bank and insurance fraud, a significantly broader inquiry than the prosecutors have acknowledged in the past.
The suggestion by the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., came in a new federal court filing arguing that Mr. Trump’s accountants should have to comply with a grand jury subpoena seeking eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. Mr. Trump has asked a judge to declare the subpoena invalid.
Until now, the district attorney’s inquiry had appeared largely focused on hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump.
In the new filing, the prosecutors did not explicitly identify the matters under scrutiny in the grand jury inquiry, which by law is conducted in secret. But they said that “undisputed” assertions in earlier court papers and several news reports about Mr. Trump’s business practices showed that the office had a wide legal basis for the subpoena.
“In light of these public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization,” there was nothing improper or even unusual about the subpoena, the filing said.
The prosecutors cited newspaper reports, including one that concluded the president may have illegally inflated his net worth and the value of his properties to lenders and insurers. They also included an article on the congressional testimony of his former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, who told lawmakers last year that the president had committed insurance fraud. Lawyers for the president have denied wrongdoing.
The filing points to three media reports about “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” to support Vance’s argument about the legitimacy of the subpoena.
The suggestion that the investigation, which has gone on for nearly two years, was broader than Mr. Vance’s office had previously acknowledged could raise the stakes for Mr. Trump, his company and its executives, if the inquiry were ever to lead to charges of bank or insurance fraud, which are felonies.
The inquiry into the hush-money payments seemed to center on a less serious crime, the filing of false business records.
* * *
Rebecca Roiphe, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan who now teaches at New York Law School, said Mr. Vance’s decision to cite public accusations of wrongdoing allowed his office to defend its subpoena without revealing the actual focus of its investigation.
“They could be going on a totally different tangent,” Professor Roiphe said. “The prosecutor is just doing what he has to do in order to suggest this is a broad white-collar investigation, which generally justifies fairly broad subpoenas to financial institutions.”
* * *
Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued last week that the subpoena was overbroad and politically motivated, asking the federal judge, Victor Marrero, to block it and declare it unenforceable.
Mr. Vance’s office responded with the filing on Monday, contending that Mr. Trump’s argument “rests on the false premise that the grand jury’s investigation is limited to so-called ‘hush-money’ payments” made by Mr. Cohen in 2016.
“This court is already aware that this assertion is fatally undermined by undisputed information in the public record,” the prosecutors wrote, before citing the media accounts.
The horses have most definitely left the gates and are racing towards the finish line.
"Protracted criminal conduct"
Let that sink in. https://t.co/bfk1DnWLt2
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) August 3, 2020
The Associated Press report, Prosecutor seeking Trump’s taxes cites probe of his business:
A New York City prosecutor fighting to get President Donald Trump’s tax returns told a judge Monday he was justified in demanding them because of public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.
“These reports describe transactions involving individual and corporate actors based in New York County, but whose conduct at times extended beyond New York’s borders. This possible criminal activity occurred within the applicable statutes of limitations, particularly if the transactions involved a continuing pattern of conduct,” the lawyers said.
In a recent federal court hearing, Mr. Vance’s office accused Mr. Trump of dragging out the legal fight in order to effectively shield himself from criminal investigation.
“What the president’s lawyers are seeking here is delay,” Carey R. Dunne, a lawyer in Mr. Vance’s office, told Judge Marrero.
Mr. Dunne said that the longer Mr. Trump fought the case, the greater the chance that the statute of limitations would expire for any potential crimes that might have been committed, effectively granting the president immunity.
“Let’s not let delay kill this case,” Mr. Dunne argued.
Manhattan DA Vance's new filing says investigation of Trump is broader than hush money – includes bank and insurance fraud. And he has hired former DOJ AAG Walter Dellinger to appear in subpoena case. Filing fee is best $200 Vance will ever spend. pic.twitter.com/9743k7WH5r
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) August 3, 2020
In seeking a court order to invalidate the subpoena, Trump’s legal team argued that prosecutors’ subpoena of Mazars was “wildly overbroad and is not remotely confined to the grand jury investigation that began in 2018.”
The trial court already rejected these claims last year.
Vance’s office correctly notes that the Trump team’s “‘new’ filing contains nothing new whatsoever, and Plaintiff has utterly failed to make a ‘stronger showing’ of bad faith than he previously made to this Court.”
The AP reports that U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero “has scheduled arguments to be fully submitted by mid-August.” It is possible that there will be a ruling in this case before the end of the month. Judge Marrero is likely to affirm his prior ruling rejecting the arguments raised by Trump’s lawyers because, as Vance’s office says, the Trump team’s “‘new’ filing contains nothing new.
If Vance gets Trump’s financial records from Mazars USA, the grand jury could have indictments for the Trump crime family ready and waiting to be served at 12:01 p.m. on January 20.
What a great day that would be!