Manhattan DA Dropped Criminal Probe Of Trump Kids After Campaign Donation

Manhattan DA Dropped Criminal Probe Of Trump Kids After Campaign Donation”

Donald Trump Jr. and White House adviser Ivanka Trump, two of President Trump's children, were almost indicted in 2012 on accusations they misled potential buyers about units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was seeking buyers. Sales launched in 2007, right before the financial crisis, and the building struggled to sell.

Trump's eldest children were accused of inflating the number of condos in the building that had been purchased.

The development in question is the Trump Organization's luxury "Trump SoHo" condo project, which Ivanka and Don Jr. had leading roles in promoting in the mid-2000s.

But two years earlier, Ivanka had claimed in a press conference that 60 percent had sold, and Donald Jr. had told a magazine that 55 percent had sold.

The Major Economic Crimes Bureau of the D.A.'s office opened an investigation of the Trump siblings that same year, and by then the Trump Organization hired several top NY criminal defense lawyers to represent Donald Jr. and Ivanka. "We're in a very fortunate position", Ivanka said, "where we have enough sales and now we are strategically targeting certain buyers". In one email, according to someone who viewed it, "the Trumps discussed how to coordinate false information they had given to prospective buyers". One broker with knowledge of the false statements was reportedly reassured by Trump Jr. that "nobody would ever find out, because only people on the email chain or in the Trump organization knew about the deception". It dragged on through 2012, with Trump Organization attorneys reportedly arguing that the siblings' exaggerations did not amount to criminal misconduct. According to ProPublica, prosecutors were inching toward impaneling a grand jury in the case against Ivanka and Donald, Jr. -a move that often leads to indictments.

A joint investigation by ProPublica, WNYC and the New Yorker published today details how Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. overrode his own prosecutors to quash the two year investigation shortly after meeting with Kasowitz, a civil litigator with little criminal law experience. The settlement forbade lawsuit plaintiffs from cooperating with the DA's probe. The result, three months after the two men met? Vance points to this as a major factor in motiving him to drop the case, and it indeed seems significant.

Vance's campaign told the reporters that he had returned the $25,000 contribution just before the 2012 meeting. He also says the donations given were unrelated to the case at hand. Both Kasowitz and Vance deny wrongdoing, and Vance notes that he returned the $25,000 donation-but a few months after the case was dropped, Kasowitz went on to host two fundraisers for Vance and donate nearly $32,000 to his campaign.

But less than six months after the D.A.'s office dropped the case, Kasowitz made an even larger donation to Vance's campaign, and helped raise more from others -eventually, a total of more than $50,000.

But another thing that happened is that Donald Trump Sr.'s lawyer Marc Kasowitz got involved in the case - and in giving money to Vance's reelection campaign.

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