Former President Donald Trump and his adult children face an increasing threat of criminal charges after Manhattan’s district attorney convened a grand jury to weigh evidence against them and the family business.
The jury was recently convened and will meet three days per week over six months, two people with knowledge on the matter told the Washington Post on Tuesday. The body is expected to decide whether to indict Trump and other Trump Organization executives or the company, if prosecutors bring criminal charges.
Seating of the grand jury suggests that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr is confident he has uncovered evidence of criminal activity by Trump or members of his company.
Vance launched an investigation more than two years ago into Trump’s business practices before he became president. The wide-ranging probe explores whether the Trump Organization cast its real estate portfolio in ways to obtain illegal tax benefits and defraud insurance companies and banks.
Trump on Tuesday evening lashed out against the development.
‘This is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,’ Trump said in a statement.
Trump claimed that the ‘witch hunt’ has ‘never stopped’ after the Russia election interference probe and his first and second impeachments.
‘This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,’ Trump stated.
‘New York City and State are suffering the highest crime rates in their history, and instead of going after murderers, drug dealers, human traffickers, and others, they come after Donald Trump.’
Trump’s children are also subject to Vance’s probe, as the Trump Organization has Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump as executive vice presidents and previously employed Ivanka Trump.
Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi said on MSNBC on Tuesday evening that Trump Jr, Eric and Ivanka ‘better have individually lawyered up’.
‘They have had to have lawyered up because they may have already made the mistake of casually speaking to the organization’s attorneys and the organization’s auditors about what they knew and what their role was,’ Figliuzzi opined. ‘Big mistake if they had done that, because the organization doesn’t represent them.’
The grand jury detail emerges one week after the New York attorney general’s office announced that its investigation into Trump and his company was ‘no longer purely civil in nature’.
‘We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA,’ said New York Attorney General Letitia James’ spokesman Fabien Levy.
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