On Monday, the Supreme Court finally ended the long legal saga against them with a one-sentence order that will allow Manhattan prosecutors to obtain Trump’s statements and related documents from the Trump organization. They had been subpoenaed in 2019; Trump’s trial to cover them up always seemed more about delay than meritorious legal issues.
This information will likely be in the hands of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and his team for their grand jury investigation in the coming days.
And now things will get interesting. While Trump’s attorneys have repeatedly attempted to characterize the AD’s investigation as simply low-key payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the lead-up to The 2016 election, Vance’s office has long maintained that it was investigating much more than that.
Manhattan investigators are likely focusing on bank loans, insurance claims, and other types of financial transactions related to property owned by Trump to determine whether he or his businesses have broken state laws. They would look at the behavior of the former president, as well as the Trump organization and some of its other senior leaders.
Vance’s team did not tweak their thumbs while they waited for the court to clear the way for Trump’s accountants to hand over the documents. Vance added forensic investigators to the team and earlier this month brought in a very experienced former federal prosecutor. Summons were issued, investigative leads were followed, and witnesses were interviewed.
One of them, Michael Cohen, a former lawyer and Trump fixer, has been questioned at least four times, including as late as Thursday, according to reports. And the pace of the investigation will only accelerate now.
But while unraveling eight years of complicated financial transactions may take time, Vance’s team is probably not starting from scratch, even when it comes to documents Trump is being forced to hand over for the first time. Not only have investigators learned a great deal about Trump’s potential criminality from their independent investigation over the past year and a half, it’s entirely possible that prosecutors have already had access to tax returns and some of the others. information that the accountants of the former president will now officially publish. .
The point is, prosecutors and their investigators have sources, and so do reporters, and if the New York Times has obtained copies of Trump’s tax returns, Vance’s team may have them, too.
Even when prosecutors obtain information informally, they still need to obtain it through official channels to comply with evidentiary requirements and establish the authenticity of documents and chain of custody. But if Vance’s team obtained some or all of these documents through a leak or an informant, for example, they may have already moved forward with investigative steps based on that information.
If so, we may be closer to the end of this investigation than the beginning. Former President Trump was reportedly quite worried about a possible lawsuit for his role in the January 6 insurgency. I suspect, given the vitriolic statement Trump released Monday about the loss of the tax filing subpoena – it was a “fishing expedition,” he said, and it was ” persecuted “- that he is also very concerned about the Vance investigation.
He should be. It took several months of legal wrangling for Vance’s summons to be honored; it may only be a matter of weeks before he is able to make impeachment decisions.