• Tue. Sep 28th, 2021

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Trump calls reported convening of grand jury in NY probe ‘purely political’

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted reports that a special grand jury had been convened to hear evidence against the Trump Organization, calling it “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history.”

“This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,” the former president said in a statement.

New York prosecutors’ imminent presentation of evidence against Trump’s business, first reported by the Washington Post, citing two people familiar with the development, signals that the criminal investigation into the former president has entered a new phase.

The panel was recently convened by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and will hear evidence in other cases as well, the sources told the Post. The district attorney has not confirmed the reports.

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance’s office has been investigating a variety of allegations of financial improprieties against Trump’s company for about two years. Court documents show that Vance is probing “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization,” which could include falsifying business records, insurance fraud and tax fraud.

Vance started investigating the company and its top executives after it was disclosed that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her claim that she had sex with Trump, an allegation he has denied.

Cohen also alleged in testimony before Congress that the Trump Organization sometimes lied about its financial condition to evade taxes or obtain favorable loan terms.

Daniel R. Alonso, a former top deputy to Vance who is now a white-collar defense lawyer, said convening a special grand jury typically means that “it’s highly likely they’re going to be presenting charges against someone.”

It also enables prosecutors to subpoena witnesses to testify before the panel, Alonso said.

The DA’s probe appeared to pick up steam in recent weeks, with New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office acknowledging it was helping Vance’s office.

James’ office had been criminally investigating the personal taxes of Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, an official close to the investigation said.