Even though he continues to decry it as a witch hunt, the legal heat on twice-impeached, one-term former president Donald Trump recently was turned up to high. The Manhattan district attorney has convened a grand jury to review evidence and potentially indict Trump, his family members and company executives.
The Washington Post is reporting that the panel will meet three days a week for the next six month and will hear prosecutors present evidence in several matters. District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been investigating Trump and the Trump Organization for about two years, looking into the company’s financial declarations and potential manipulation of the value of its real estate assets, tax accounting procedures and compensation of the company’s top executives.
The move is widely seen as a significant advancement of the investigation because it signals that Vance feels he has found evidence of a crime by Trump, someone close to him or by his company.
Rebecca Roiphe, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan who is now a professor at New York Law School, said the recent step of seating a long-term panel shows that Vance’s investigation has progressed to the point that prosecutors will visit the grand jury, bring them evidence and witnesses, and potentially ask them to contemplate charges. They were unlikely to take that step without believing they had evidence to show there was probable cause to believe someone committed a crime, she said.
“The prosecutors are convinced they have a case. That’s at least how I read it,” Roiphe said.