Manhattan DA convenes grand jury expected to weigh Trump evidence: report
The Manhattan district attorney has convened a grand jury that is expected to weigh any criminal evidence against former President Trump, the Trump Organization and top executives of his company and decide whether to issue indictments, according to The Washington Post.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.’s office has reportedly been investigating an array of potential financial misconduct, including criminal fraud.
News of the grand jury is the latest sign of a quickening investigative pace for Vance’s probe, which is unfolding alongside an overlapping inquiry by the New York attorney general. Their offices are now coordinating efforts.
Representatives for Trump and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for Vance’s office declined to comment when asked by The Hill, and New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The grand jury is expected to hear several legal matters in addition to potential evidence of questionable financial activity linked to the former president and the Trump Organization, according to The Post, which said the panel will gather three days a week for six months.
Among the millions of pages of documents in evidence are eight years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns, which Vance’s office obtained in February after a long legal battle.
One theory is that the company inflated the value of assets to get more favorable terms for bank loans, insurance and tax breaks and deflated the value to reduce the amount owed in real estate taxes.
Investigators are also looking into possible tax fraud related to Seven Springs, a New York property in the Trump Organization’s portfolio, as well as payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film star who says she had an affair with Trump, which he denies.
Another angle prosecutors are reportedly pursuing is whether Trump’s business gave employees benefits instead of higher salaries as a way to lower the company’s payroll tax burden.
Among the alleged recipients are Trump’s longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and his family members, who reportedly received heavily discounted or free access to Trump-owned apartments in Manhattan.
Prosecutors reportedly aim to “flip” Weisselberg, meaning gain his cooperation as a witness against the former president and his company. As a top Trump executive for four decades, Weisselberg is thought to be a potentially key source of information for investigators.
Weisselberg’s attorney, Mary Mulligan of the firm Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman, declined to comment.
Grand juries are tasked with examining evidence to determine whether probable cause exists to formally accuse a person or entity of a crime. They can also serve as potent investigative tools for prosecutors, with the power to issue subpoenas for documents or to compel testimony.