The momentous decision whether or not to charge Donald Trump could be made by the end of the year, now that Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance has convened a grand jury as part of his office’s probe into the former president and his business dealings. The panel, which will meet three days a week for six months, will determine if any criminal indictments should be filed against Trump, his employees or business associates, or the Trump Organization as a whole.
The Washington Post reported that investigators are specifically looking into “Trump’s business practices before he was president, including whether the value of specific properties in the Trump Organization’s real-estate portfolio were manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies, and if any tax benefits were obtained illegally through unscrupulous asset valuation.” Sources have also told the Post that investigators are scrutinizing whether Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg avoided taxes on compensation, part of an effort to secure Vance’s cooperation in a potential case against his boss. The team have also subpoenaed Weisselberg’s personal bank records.
Vance’s office won a legal fight at the Supreme Court back in February to obtain eight years worth of Trump’s personal returns and other financial documents after the Court denied Trump’s attempt to shield his papers from prosecutors.
The D.A.’s investigation is one of two ongoing inquiries into the former president and his businesses. New York attorney general Letitia James is also examining Trump’s financial dealings, but James’s office announced this month that the civil investigation is now a criminal one as well.