Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, has convened a grand jury that will decide whether or not to indict former president Donald Trump; executives of his company or the business itself based on evidence brought before it, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The grand jury, whose proceedings are not open to public, will meet three days a week.
That, Vance has convened the panel is being taken as a sign that his investigations have reached a stage; where his prosecutors also believe they have enough evidence to seek indictments.
If indicted, Trump, who has never been charged criminally, will be the first former American president charged with committing a crime.
He already holds the dubious distinction of being the only ex-president impeached twice; he picked up the second just days before leaving office in January.
Trump dismissed the development as the “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in American history”.
“This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the presidential election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,” Trump said.
“Our country is broken, our elections are rigged, corrupt, and also stolen; our prosecutors are politicised, and I will just have to keep on fighting like I have been for the last five years!”
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Vance’s criminal investigation is one of the two Trump is facing in New York; where he had lived and also worked before moving to Florida.
The other is a civil case by New York state attorney general Letitia James; that she recently broadened to investigate the Trump Organization in a “criminal capacity”. Both Vance and James are Democrats.
Both cases started in 2018, stemming from a congressional testimony given by Michael Cohen; a former Trump lawyer and fixer; after he was convicted of making hush-money payments to women who claimed to have had sexual relations with Trump (Trump has denied those allegations), and for lying to Congress.
Cohen told lawmakers the Organization manipulated valuation of its properties and assets; to gain favourable loans and decrease tax liability.
Vance expanded his probe speedily to look into his financial records; and is reportedly pressuring Trump Organization’s chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg into cooperating against his boss.
His former daughter-in-law is, in fact, cooperating with Vance’s office; and has turned over copious amounts of documents to his prosecutors.