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Former President Donald Trump faces additional scrutiny in New York criminal investigation

New York’s attorney general has partnered with Manhattan’s district attorney in their criminal investigation into Trump’s business dealings

Security barricades are pictured in front of Trump Tower, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in New York.
Security barricades are pictured in front of Trump Tower on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in New York. Former President Donald Trump owns a penthouse condominium in the skyscraper and the Trump Organization has its headquarters here. New York’s attorney general has partnered with Manhattan’s district attorney in their criminal investigation into Trump’s business dealings.
John Minchillo, Associated Press

New York Attorney General’s Office announced that it has partnered with the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business dealings.

“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,” a spokesman for New York Attorney General Letitia James told CNN.

The statement didn’t say what prompted James’ office to join Manhattan’s criminal investigation, according to CNN — who first reported the news on Tuesday.

Until now, the state attorney general and Manhattan’s District Attorney Cyrus Vance were in the midst of similar, but separate, investigations, according to The New York Times. James’ investigation had been focused on civil matters, while Vance’s Manhattan investigation is criminal.

The Trump Organization lists its headquarters as Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Why is Trump being investigated?

The New York Times reported that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is investigating the Trump Organization for array of criminal financial crimes, including:

  • Fraud, related to both taxes and banking practices.
  • If the Trump Organization “inflated the value of his properties to obtain favorable loans and lowered the values to reduce taxes.”

In February, the Supreme Court of the United States ordered the former president to turn over nearly a decade of tax records to Vance’s office, the Deseret News reported.

  • “The work continues,” Vance said on Twitter in a brief statement after the decision in February.
  • The district attorney has said the statue of limitation to press criminal charges is waning, National Public Radio reported.

The state attorney general’s civil investigation has some crossover with the district attorney’s budding criminal case, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

  • This overlap includes “examining whether Trump or his businesses manipulated the value of assets — inflating them in some cases and minimizing them in others — to gain favorable loan terms and tax benefits,” the AP reported.
  • Also, “James’ office issued subpoenas to local governments in November 2019 for records pertaining to Trump’s estate north of Manhattan, Seven Springs and a tax benefit Trump received for placing land there into a conservation trust,” reported the AP.

Attorneys for the Trump Organization did not provide a comment to CNN, The New York Times nor the AP about the announcement of the joint criminal investigation. Trump has previously said Vance’s investigation is “politically motivated,” CNN reported.