New York prosecutors have called a special grand jury to examine evidence in a criminal investigation into the trade relations of former U.S. President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The developments indicate that the Manhattan district attorney’s office was set to seek prosecution following its two-year investigation, which included a lengthy legal battle to obtain Mr. Trump’s tax records.
The person familiar with the case was not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity. The news was first reported by the Washington Post.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is leading a wide-ranging investigation into a variety of issues such as discreet payments made to women on behalf of Mr. Trump, real estate appraisals and employee compensation.
Mr. Vance used an investigative grand jury throughout his investigation to issue subpoenas and obtain documents. This group continued to work as other grand juries and court activities were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The investigation includes a close examination of Mr. Trump’s relationship with his lenders; a donation of land he made to be entitled to an income tax deduction; and the tax write-offs her company claimed on millions of dollars in consulting fees it paid.
The new grand jury may possibly be asked to consider referral of the indictments. While working on this case, he will also hear other questions. The Post reported that the grand jury will meet three days a week for six months.
Mr. Vance’s office declined to comment. A message requesting comment was left for Mr. Trump’s attorney.
The new grand jury is the latest sign of the growing momentum of the criminal investigation into the former Republican president and his company, the Trump Organization.
Attorney General Letitia James said last week she appointed two attorneys to work with Mr. Vance’s office on the investigation after her civilian investigation into Mr. Trump became a criminal case.
Ms James, also a Democrat, said her office was also continuing its civilian investigation into Mr Trump. She did not say what prompted her office to extend its investigation to a criminal investigation.
In recent months, Mr Vance has hired former Mafia prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to help with the investigation and has interviewed witnesses, including Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Mr Vance has refused to run for office and will step down at the end of the year, meaning the Trump affair is likely to pass to his successor in one form or another. An election next month is almost certain to determine who it will be.
Mr. Trump issued a statement last week complaining of being “unfairly attacked and abused by a corrupt political system.” He argues that the inquiries are a “witch hunt” and part of a Democratic plot to silence his constituents and prevent him from running for president again.
In February, the United States Supreme Court supported Mr. Vance’s investigation by clearing the way for the prosecutor to impose a subpoena on Mr. Trump’s accounting firm and obtain eight years of tax returns and related documents for the former president, the Trump Organization and other Trumps. entities.
The documents are protected by the rules of grand jury secrecy and should not be made public.
Mr Vance’s investigation appeared to focus in recent weeks on Mr Trump’s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg. Her former daughter-in-law, Jen Weisselberg, is cooperating with both investigations.
She handed investigators a plethora of tax records and other documents as they investigated whether certain Trump employees had received unconventional compensation, such as apartments or tuition.
Allen Weisselberg was subpoenaed as part of Ms James’ civil investigation and testified twice last year. His lawyer declined to comment when asked on Tuesday whether he had been subpoenaed to testify before the new grand jury.
A message requesting comment was left for Jen Weisselberg’s lawyer.
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