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:
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:
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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