Since late 2019 it’s been clear that New York authorities are aiming to put Donald Trump and others in prison for their financial crimes, while also pulling the plug on the Trump Organization for being nothing more than a front for those financial crimes.
Earlier this year the New York Attorney General signed on to the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal probe, which has since resulted in criminal indictments against the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg – with bigger name indictments certainly to follow. But the New York Attorney General is also still probing the Trump Organization on a civil level, and that case is finally coming to a head.
As is generally the case with these kinds of investigations, the Trump Organization has been doing everything it can to delay turning over incriminating documents to the New York Attorney General. But now the Washington Post says that a judge has stepped in and ordered the Trump Organization to immediately comply, or else the Attorney General’s office will be allowed to go in and search the documents and take whatever it wants.
This sets up a no-win situation for those running the Trump Organization. If they turn over the documents, they’ll incriminate themselves. If they refuse to turn over the documents, the New York Attorney General will just come in and take them anyway. And if Trump Organization people destroy the documents, they risk going down for felony obstruction of justice. Keep in mind that in these scenarios, prosecutors often already have copies of at least some of the documents in question, making it easy for them to determine whether anything has been omitted or destroyed.
Keep in mind that while the judge’s order only applies to the civil probe, any criminal evidence that’s uncovered can be turned into a criminal matter. We’ve already seen the New York Attorney General do precisely that with other aspects of this case. So if the documents in question end up proving criminal acts, it’ll translate to more criminal indictments. Then again, cooperating witnesses like Michael Cohen have publicly confirmed that New York already has enough evidence to criminally indict Trump anyway – so these documents would only serve to help pile on.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report