New York prosecutors said on Tuesday they are now investigating the Trump Organization in a “criminal capacity” as well as a “civil capacity,” increasing pressure on the former president’s personal business.
Trump Organization Investigated in ‘Criminal Capacity’
“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA. We have no additional comment at this time,” said Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the New York attorney general’s office, in a statement.
The statement did not say what turned the inquiry from civil to criminal in nature, or whether the former president himself might be personally implicated in any allegations.
Organization’s Finances Under Investigation Since 2019
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has been investigating the Trump Organization since 2019 over the company’s sprawling finances.
Her office is working with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office. The two are trying to determine if the organization inflated its property values to lenders and insurers as well as if it paid the appropriate amount of taxes.
Vance’s office is thoroughly examining the company’s documents; included in those documents are the the former president’s tax returns.
James said in August that she had filed a lawsuit against the company to force it to comply with subpoenas in the investigation. Her office launched a probe into the personal financial records of the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer.
Several Trump Organization officials, including Eric Trump, the former president’s son, and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, have already been deposed.
Several Trump Organization properties’ financial dealings are being scrutinized as part of the investigation, including Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, New York; 40 Wall Street, a building in Lower Manhattan; Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago; and Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.
Former President has Called Investigation Politically Motivated
Trump has previously called the New York attorney general’s investigation politically motivated.
The former president launched a new blog this month to get his message out to his followers, after his digital presence was wiped out by Facebook and Twitter. At press time, no comment had been posted on the blog concerning the criminal investigation of the Trump Organization.
Social media outlets banned Trump after they decided that the former President incited his supporters to violence that led to the Capitol Hill riot of January 6.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at the time that the ban was extended “indefinitely,” acknowledging that Trump content has in the past been labeled or removed when found to violate its policies, but that he had been allowed up until then to “use our platform consistent with our own rules.”
Trump’s posts so far on the new blog include one calling Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) a “stone cold loser,” and a slick video Tuesday that proclaims his platform a “Beacon of Freedom” and a “Place to Speak Freely and Safely” — although the site does not allow readers to reply back or communicate among themselves.