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Criminal Investigators Just Got a Trove of Documents That Could Nail Donald Trump

Things are not looking good for the ex-president re: staying out of prison. 

Nearly three months after leaving the White House, things could be going both worse and better for Donald Trump. On the one hand, he was acquitted by the Senate for inciting the violent mob that attacked the Capitol, allowing him to theoretically run for president again in 2024, as he has threatened to do. On the other hand, he’s drowning in lawsuits and potentially going to prison. So, on the whole, probably not how he pictured his postpresidential life panning out, a fantasy that we assume involved Joe Biden being impeached and removed from office on day one and him being installed as Emperor for Life.

Obviously, the most pressing legal issues facing Trump—who is a defendant in at least 30 lawsuits and counting—are the criminal investigations, of which there are at least three. Specifically, though, he’s likely most concerned about the one being conducted by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. And with good reason: In February, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s longtime accountants could turn over his tax returns to Vance’s office—which they did that day—a decision the ex-president reacted to like a guy who knows he’s committed all manner of tax fraud and is about to get caught. Then there’s the fact that Vance brought on attorney Mark Pomerantz, a prosecutor known for putting mafia boss John Gotti behind bars. At present, Pomerantz is said to be working on flipping longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who has described himself as Trump’s “eyes and ears” at the company. And on that front, things appear to be ramping up, according to The Washington Post:

Investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, acting on a grand jury subpoena, took possession of financial records Thursday morning from the apartment of Jennifer Weisselberg, the former daughter-in-law of a top Trump Organization officer. Jennifer Weisselberg was married to Barry Weisselberg—the son of Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg—from 2004 to 2018. She has previously said that she had seven boxes of financial records from both her ex-husband and his father, some of which were obtained through divorce litigation. On Thursday, she loaded three boxes and a laptop computer onto a valet cart and wheeled them from her building to a black Jeep with dark-tinted windows that was waiting outside.

The subpoena, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, ordered Jennifer Weisselberg to produce all of the records she possesses for her ex-husband’s bank accounts and credit cards plus his statements of net worth and tax filings. Barry Weisselberg is a Trump Organization employee and manages an ice rink for the company in Manhattan’s Central Park. The subpoena asks specifically for records related to the Trump Organization and Wollman Rink. “My knowledge of the documents and my voice connect the flow of money from various banks and from personal finances that bleed directly into the Trump Organization,” she said in an interview Thursday…. She has said previously that the documents that were in her possession showed transactions in bank accounts controlled by Barry and Allen Weisselberg jointly.

Vance, as well as New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is running a parallel investigation, are both reportedly looking into the possibility that Allen Weisselberg and/or his son received “untaxed benefits” from the Trump Organization, such as free use of the company’s apartments. Tax experts say that such things must be counted as “income” on one’s taxes, which Jennifer Weisselberg has said they were not. Another thing Jennifer Weisselberg has had to say re: the Trump Organization? “They want you to do crimes and not talk about it and don’t leave,” she told Insider last month. “It’s so controlling. And both [the District Attorney and New York Attorney General] have discussed that because they need to know how they operate.” Speaking to Insider on Tuesday, Jennifer Weisselberg’s lawyer, Duncan Levin, said, “It was my distinct impression that things are heating up and that this investigation is of intense focus for prosecutors at the DA’s office.” John Dean, the White House counsel whose testimony about the Watergate scandal led to Richard Nixon’s resignation, opined last month that charges against Trump could be coming soon.

All of which is presumably quite worrisome to the 45th president, who apparently thought it wise to retain a criminal defense attorney this week. Per The Wall Street Journal:

The Trump Organization has hired Ronald Fischetti, an experienced New York criminal-defense attorney, to represent it in Manhattan prosecutors’ investigation into the business dealings of the former president and his company. Mr. Fischetti, 84 years old, is a former law partner of Mark Pomerantz, the former federal prosecutor working on the investigation for the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Mr. Pomerantz was sworn in as a special assistant district attorney in February and is now on leave from law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Mr. Fischetti, a partner at the Fischetti and Malgieri LLP firm, has spent decades as a defense attorney working in both state and federal courts. His prior clients include former South Carolina State Sen. Albert Carmichael Jr., who was convicted of buying votes during a 1980 Democratic primary; and former U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia and his wife, whose 1989 public-corruption convictions were overturned.

Other clients of Fischetti have included a Broadway actor who pleaded guilty of “sexual encounters” with a minor; a stockbroker who stole millions from clients including Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Ben Affleck; a judge who was convicted of accepting bribes to influence the outcome of cases; and a police officer convicted for lying about his part in one of the most heinous acts of police brutality in NYPD history. Fischetti’s latest client, a.k.a. the ex-president, has of course claimed that Vance’s probe into possible bank, insurance, and tax fraud is a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

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