Here’s the thing about financial fraud cases. When the paperwork and documents are in hand, there’s zero doubt about guilt, and so a conviction ends up being almost automatic. It’s why career criminals like Donald Trump typically end up going down for financial fraud, even when other kinds of criminal charges haven’t stuck over the years.
It’s why Trump is screwed in New York whether anyone flips on him or not. But the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has clearly decided that it’s not willing to simply rely on documents and paperwork when it puts Trump on criminal trial for his financial crimes. It wants his own people to testify against him as well.
Michael Cohen has long been cooperating with the DA’s office in the case against Trump, as evidenced by the eight times he’s met with them. But the only thing better than an inside witness is multiple inside witnesses. And the key to lining up additional witnesses is to pressure people near Trump to flip on him.
It’s not enough to have a slam dunk criminal case against someone like Allen Weisselberg or Steve Bannon. Prosecutors don’t want to have to spend a year or two convicting them, before finally getting them to cut a cooperating plea deal against Trump. Prosecutors want these guys to realize right now that they’re screwed, so they’ll cut deals and flip on Trump now.
To that end, the Manhattan DA’s office keeps leaking to the media how hard it’s coming down on these guys. Earlier this month there was the revelation that Allen Weisselberg’s former daughter in law is working with prosecutors. This weekend the news surfaced that the DA’s office has enlisted the help of New York Attorney General personnel in an increasingly aggressive criminal case against Steve Bannon. The point of these leaks is to get these folks to realize it’s over for them unless they cut a deal.
We’ll see who caves and when. Prosecutors won’t wait forever for Trump’s underlings to cut plea deals against him. If no one flips, then before too much longer we’ll ostensibly see Trump indicted without the help of a Weisselberg or a Bannon. Again, there’s already more than enough evidence in place to nail Trump. But prosectors in New York are clearly looking to pile on.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report