Former President Donald Trump ripped New York City and state prosecutors Monday over their long-running investigation into the Trump Organization, accusing them of being “rude, nasty, and totally biased.”
The 45th president issued his blast as Trump Organization lawyers met with representatives of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office. Meanwhile, a company attorney told reporters that a grand jury empaneled by Vance is nearing a vote on issuing indictments following the more than two-year-long investigation.
“Radical Left New York City and State Prosecutors, who have let murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and all other forms of crime skyrocket to record levels, and who have just announced that they will be releasing hundreds of people involved in violent crime back onto the streets without retribution of any kind, are rude, nasty, and totally biased in the way they are treating lawyers, representatives, and some of the wonderful long-term employees and people within the Trump Organization,” Trump railed in a lengthy statement.
Trump Organization lawyer Ron Fischetti, who did not attend the meeting with Vance’s office, told the Associated Press that prosecutors have told him Trump himself will not be charged at this time — “at least not with what’s coming down this week” — but added the investigation is continuing.
“I can’t say he’s out of the woods yet completely,” Fischetti said.
“After hundreds of subpoenas, over 3 million pages of documents, 4 years of searching, dozens and dozens of interviews, and millions of dollars of taxpayer funds wasted, they continue to be ‘in search of a crime’ and will do anything to frighten people into making up the stories or lies that they want, but have been totally unable to get,” Trump said, later adding: “It is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time.”
In recent months, investigators have focused on fringe benefits the company gave to top executives, such as use of apartments, cars and school tuition. Fischetti told the AP the prospective charges so far “are limited to a couple of Trump Org employees who didn’t declare taxes” on those perks.
The company itself also could be charged, the lawyer added.
Vance’s office reportedly had been probing alleged insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization. Investigators have scrutinized Trump’s tax records, subpoenaed documents and interviewed witnesses, including Trump insiders and company executives. They have also looked into the Trump Organization’s role in paying hush money to two women who say Trump had affairs with them, accusations Trump has denied.
The Wall Street Journal reported in February that the Manhattan DA was looking into nearly $300 million in loans to the former president by companies connected to Ladder Capital Corp., a New York-based real estate investment firm. Some of the loans under scrutiny reportedly were taken out on the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, the Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle, Trump Plaza on the Upper East Side and a skyscraper in the Financial District.
Vance’s investigation, along with a closely related probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James‘ office, stems from testimony before Congress by former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen in February 2019. Cohen, who is currently serving a three-year federal sentence after pleading guilty to tax evasion and campaign finance violations, told lawmakers that Trump had inflated the value of his assets to receive favorable loan conditions.
James’ office revealed last month that their probe of the Trump Organization was “criminal” in nature.
The former president accused Vance’s office of “working in close conjunction with the Washington, D.C. hacks who have been investigating me from the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower, but who have failed … They will do anything to stop the MAGA movement (and me), even if it involves prosecutorial misconduct and harassment of a political opponent, which they are using at levels rarely seen before.
“They leak, they lie, and they campaign based on information that has already been gone through in other of the many investigations I have put up with,” Trump added. “Now they just leaked that we were given one day, today, to make our case about things that are standard practice throughout the US business community, and in no way a crime. They also know that no matter how strong our case, they will work hard to embarrass us and the Republican Party.”
Some of the scrutiny has been focused on longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.
Vance’s investigation of Weisselberg, 73, stemmed in part from questions about his son’s use of a Trump apartment at little or no cost, cars leased for the family and tuition payments made to a school attended by Weisselberg’s grandchildren.
“Having politically motivated prosecutors, people who actually got elected because they will ‘get Donald Trump,’ is a very dangerous thing for our Country,” Trump said. “In the end, people will not stand for it. Remember, if they can do this to me, they can do it to anyone! Why would anyone bring their company to New York, or even stay in New York, knowing these Radical Left Democrats would willingly target their company if viewed as a political opponent? It is devastating for New York!
“These Witch Hunters are relentlessly seeking to destroy a reputation of a President who has done a great job for this Country, including tax and regulation cuts, Border control, rebuilding the Military, and developing the vaccine in record time—thereby saving our Country, and far beyond,” the former president’s statement concluded. “Washington, D.C. and ultimately, the US Supreme Court, should finally stop these vicious, angry, and highly partisan prosecutors. They are a disgrace to our Nation!”
Fischetti has called the possibility of charges “absolutely outrageous” and politically motivated. He said it would be extremely unusual for prosecutors to seek criminal charges over unpaid tax on fringe benefits.
With Post wires