Bringing the United States closer to the extraordinary possibility of indicting a former president, a grand jury has been convened in Manhattan to weigh possible charges against Donald Trump, top executives at his business, or potentially the company itself, the Washington Post reported late on Tuesday.
Citing two anonymous sources, the Post reported that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s (D) office convened the grand jury “recently,” and it is expected to sit three days a week for six months. It also will hear other matters during that time, according to the Post.
That reported length of time appears to allow the grand jury time to wrap up their work before final race to determine who will be the New York County District Attorney, with primaries slated for June and the general election in November.
Wrapping up his 12-year tenure then, Vance confirmed earlier this year that he will not seek reelection, and the grand jury’s charging decision could be the last major development of his more than decade-long post. It could also be the defining act, years in the making.
After subpoenaing records from Trump’s accounting firm Mazars in August 2019, Vance wrangled with Trump’s lawyers for their client’s financial records up to the Supreme Court of the United States, twice.
Both times, Vance prevailed handily. The high court first found that Trump was not absolutely immune from criminal investigation as president, by a 7-2 margin in the prosecutor’s favor.
Then, the justices declined to stay the subpoena based on Trump’s claims that it was overbroad.
The district attorney obtained the sought-after files earlier this year, and the office’s probe continued to heat up, with the hiring of a forensic accountant and outside counsel with experience prosecuting the mob to help out on the investigation.
Just last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced that she and Vance joined forces in investigating Trump’s company criminally.
According to court filings and news reports, both probes have focused on his tax records and persistent allegations—by Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen and others—that the ex-president inflates his assets in order to obtain tax benefits. The attorney general’s office deposed the former president’s son Eric Trump last October, and though the grilling was confidential, James is known to be looking into the books of the Trump Organization’s Seven Springs estate in Westchester (which Eric Trump has described as “our compound”).
The Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg has been named in multiple reports as a pressure point, eyed by Manhattan prosecutors as someone who could potentially cooperate against the former president. Weisselberg’s association with the Trump family dates goes back decades.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined comment on the report.
Before and after his presidency, Trump has responded to reports about investigations swirling around him by alleging political persecution and spinning grievance. That pattern has persisted recently, when he recently issued a lengthy fusillade on his blog when James announced her investigation had turned criminal.
“There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime,” Trump’s post read. “But, make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here.”
Trump had not issued a statement on the Post report by press time.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]