Even as the Manhattan District Attorney and the New York Attorney General have teamed up to bring state-level criminal indictments against the Trump Organization, with their sights clearly set on Donald Trump himself, the Feds at the SDNY have put forward an effort in 2021 that’s come off like a muddled mess.
Months ago the SDNY reignited its criminal probe into Rudy Giuliani, raiding his home and seizing his communications. Since that the time the case has seen a number of procedural delays in court, related to the special master appointed to parse which of Giuliani’s communications fall under attorney-client privilege. By all accounts this case is still on track. But what about the other cases?
For instance, Giuliani associate Igor Fruman recently pleaded guilty, but didn’t cut a formal cooperating plea deal with the SDNY. There’s been no clear indication as to whether the SDNY is actively pursuing other Trump henchmen. Then there’s the fact that the SDNY already has a criminal case fully in place against Donald Trump for campaign finance fraud, left over from the prosecution of Michael Cohen for that same crime a few years ago. Cohen has even publicly offered to help with that prosecution, but the SDNY isn’t known to be doing anything ont hat front. But that all may be about to change.
This week the Senate finally confirmed President Biden’s nominee for U.S. Attorney for the SDNY, Damian Williams. Prior to this, there had been a capable Acting U.S. Attorney in place for all of 2021. But all year it’s felt like the SDNY was largely sitting on its hands waiting for some kind of “go” signal. It’s not difficult to imagine that major SDNY would-be prosecutions have been on hold until there was finally a U.S. Attorney in place, so that those cases could be handled in whatever manner the new U.S. Attorney wanted.
Now that this has happened, we can seemingly expect movement out of SDNY when it comes to major cases against Trump world. That doesn’t mean everyone will magically get arrested tomorrow; nothing works that way. But surely a lot of major decisions are about to be made – and a number of major, sensitive criminal cases are about to get the greenlight to move ahead.
SDNY isn’t the only entity with a new boss in town. A new U.S. Attorney was also confirmed this week to run the EDNY, which operates in Brooklyn. The EDNY indicted and arrested Trump money man Tom Barrack earlier this year but hasn’t made any visible moves in Trump’s direction since; we’ll see if the arrival of a new boss will spur the EDNY to cut a deal with Barrack or something along those lines.
In any case, while we don’t know specifically what’s about to happen at SDNY and EDNY, it’s a big deal that they finally have permanent U.S. Attorneys in place to make decisions about what to greenlight. This can’t possibly be good news for Donald Trump and his henchmen as we move forward.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report