• 31 May, 2023

The Legal Threat to Trump in New York: Explained

The Legal Threat to Trump in New York: Explained

The legal challenges facing former President Donald Trump in New York include investigations into his finances, his inauguration committee, and lawsuits related to allegations of sexual misconduct.

In recent years, former President Donald Trump has faced numerous legal challenges in New York, ranging from allegations of tax fraud to sexual misconduct. These legal challenges have only intensified since his departure from the White House, as prosecutors continue to investigate his business dealings and potential crimes committed during his time in office.

One of the most significant legal threats to Trump in New York comes from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which has been investigating the former president's financial dealings for several years. This investigation began in 2018, after Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes, and implicated Trump in those crimes.

The investigation initially focused on hush-money payments made by Cohen to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, which prosecutors say were made at Trump's direction and constituted illegal campaign contributions. However, the scope of the investigation has since expanded to include potential tax and bank fraud by the Trump Organization, as well as other financial crimes.

The investigation has been led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is known for his aggressive pursuit of white-collar crime. Vance's office has subpoenaed a wide range of documents from the Trump Organization, including tax returns, financial statements, and communications between Trump and his associates.

The Trump Organization has fought back against the subpoenas, arguing that they are overly broad and politically motivated. However, their efforts to block the subpoenas have been largely unsuccessful, with the Supreme Court ultimately ruling in February 2021 that Trump's tax returns could be turned over to Vance's office.

The investigation is still ongoing, but prosecutors have already made some significant discoveries. In August 2020, the New York Times reported that Trump had significantly understated the value of his assets in his financial disclosures to obtain loans and reduce his tax liability. The Times also reported that Trump had claimed millions of dollars in tax deductions for consulting fees paid to Ivanka Trump, his daughter, even though she was already a Trump Organization employee.

These revelations raised the possibility that Trump could be charged with tax fraud or other financial crimes. However, Vance's office has not yet brought any charges against Trump or anyone else associated with the Trump Organization, and it remains unclear when or if they will do so.

Another legal threat to Trump in New York comes from the investigation into his inauguration committee. The committee was responsible for planning and financing Trump's inauguration in January 2017, which was one of the most expensive in U.S. history, costing more than $100 million.

In early 2019, federal prosecutors in New York began investigating whether the inauguration committee had accepted illegal donations from foreign individuals or entities, as well as whether the committee had misspent some of its funds. The investigation has reportedly focused on several individuals associated with the committee, including Trump's longtime friend and inaugural chairman, Thomas Barrack.

In July 2021, Barrack was indicted on charges of acting as a foreign agent and lying to federal agents about his dealings with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The indictment alleges that Barrack used his position on Trump's campaign and his role as chairman of the inauguration committee to promote the interests of the UAE and provide intelligence to its government.

The charges against Barrack do not implicate Trump directly, but they do raise questions about the relationship between the Trump administration and foreign governments. The indictment also underscores the legal risks faced by Trump's associates, who may be more vulnerable to criminal charges than the former president himself.

In addition to these ongoing investigations, Trump is also facing several lawsuits in New York related to allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2019, journalist E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s. Trump denied the allegations and claimed that Carroll was lying, but Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against him

The Manhattan District Attorney's Investigation

 

The investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is perhaps the most significant legal threat to Trump in New York. Vance's office has been investigating Trump's financial dealings since 2018, and the scope of the investigation has since expanded to include potential tax and bank fraud by the Trump Organization, as well as other financial crimes.

The investigation has been contentious, with the Trump Organization fighting back against the subpoenas for documents and arguing that they are politically motivated. However, their efforts to block the subpoenas have been largely unsuccessful, with the Supreme Court ultimately ruling in February 2021 that Trump's tax returns could be turned over to Vance's office.

The investigation has already yielded some significant revelations, including that Trump had significantly understated the value of his assets in his financial disclosures to obtain loans and reduce his tax liability. These revelations raised the possibility that Trump could be charged with tax fraud or other financial crimes, although Vance's office has not yet brought any charges against Trump or anyone else associated with the Trump Organization.

The Inauguration Committee Investigation

 

Another legal threat to Trump in New York comes from the investigation into his inauguration committee. The committee was responsible for planning and financing Trump's inauguration in January 2017, which was one of the most expensive in U.S. history, costing more than $100 million.

The investigation has focused on whether the inauguration committee accepted illegal donations from foreign individuals or entities, as well as whether the committee misspent some of its funds. The investigation has reportedly focused on several individuals associated with the committee, including Trump's longtime friend and inaugural chairman, Thomas Barrack.

Barrack was indicted in July 2021 on charges of acting as a foreign agent and lying to federal agents about his dealings with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The charges do not implicate Trump directly, but they do raise questions about the relationship between the Trump administration and foreign governments.

 

The Sexual Misconduct Lawsuits

 

In addition to the ongoing investigations, Trump is also facing several lawsuits in New York related to allegations of sexual misconduct. Journalist E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s, which Trump denied and claimed that Carroll was lying. However, Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump.

Another lawsuit was filed by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump's reality show "The Apprentice," who claimed that Trump had sexually assaulted her in 2007. Trump denied the allegations, and the lawsuit has been tied up in court for several years.

These lawsuits could have significant implications for Trump, as they could result in damaging disclosures about his behavior and potential financial settlements. However, it remains to be seen how the lawsuits will play out in court.

Conclusion

Overall, the legal threats to Trump in New York are numerous and significant. The Manhattan District Attorney's investigation, the inauguration committee investigation, and the sexual misconduct lawsuits all pose risks to Trump's reputation and potentially his freedom. While it remains to be seen how these legal challenges will play out, they highlight the legal jeopardy faced by powerful individuals who may have engaged in unethical or criminal behavior.