On Tuesday, we learned that the office of Manhattan District Attorney had hired a forensic accounting firm to help with the growing financial fraud investigation being conducted into Donald Trump, members of his family, and the Trump Organization.
The purpose of hiring FTI Consulting, according to the Washington Post was “to look for anomalies among a variety of property deals, and to advise the district attorney on whether the president’s company manipulated the value of certain assets to obtain favorable interest rates and tax breaks.”
And that, Andrew Weissmann, a former prosecutor for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, signals that Trump has every reason to be worried.
Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday evening, Weissmann was asked by host Mehdi Hasan:
We don’t know yet whether in terms of the Manhattan district attorney’s office will make its case, but if there is something there, if there is a there there, then yes, you would be worried if you were Donald Trump, his family, and his companies. The forensic accountants that are reported to have been hired are true experts … in fact, I know them pretty well because not only do they have former FBI agents and analysts there, they have one of the lead forensic accountants that worked for the special counsel investigation is actually at FTI.”
Weismann then explained exactly what FTI would be looking for as they dig through Trump’s financial documents:
“They are really good at detecting fraud and following and tracing money, and particularly good at attribution. What I mean by that is if somebody sets up sort of offshore accounts, uses fake or sham names, they’re really good at tracing money flows so that they can attribute that money to a particular person. And the reason that’s important is if you’re not paying taxes on it and you can show that that’s income, then you can make a criminal case. And that’s exactly, for instance, what we did in the Paul Manafort case, which was we traced all of his bonds across the globe with the help of spectacular forensic accountant. So I suspect that’s exactly what Manhattan is going to try to do here.”
As Weissmann pointed out, the case against Paul Manafort was made with a deep dive into his finances, which showed offshore accounts and the money flowing into them, most of it from overseas accounts. Manafort was convicted of tax fraud, failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Nearly the all of the evidence that helped convict him came from the same sort of documents Manhattan prosecutors are combing over in Trump’s case.
The walls are closing in on Donald Trump. And as of noon on January 20, he no longer has the presidency to protect him from being put and trial and convicted. That’s why he’s trying so desperately to have his Congressional allies overturn the 2020 election. But they will fail, and Trump will then be at the mercy of the courts. That’s not a good position to be in when you break the law as often as Trump allegedly has.
Here’s the video of Weissmann’s appearance on MSNBC: