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Crime Donald Trump January 6 Justice Department Mike Pence

DOJ Requests Testimony From Pence As Part Of Its Criminal Investigation Of Trump: Report

The Justice Department has contacted former Vice President Mike Pence and his legal team requesting Pence’s witness testimony as part of the ongoing criminal investigation of disgraced ex-president Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election so he could remain in power.

According to The New York Times, “Thomas Windom, one of the lead investigators examining the efforts to overturn the election, reached out to Mr. Pence’s team in the weeks before Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed a special counsel on Friday.”

Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee the DOJ’s investigations regarding January 6, 2021 and his hoarding of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago in violation of federal law.

The Times notes:

“Mr. Pence, according to people familiar with his thinking, is open to considering the request, recognizing that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation is different from the inquiry by the House Jan. 6 committee, whose overtures he has flatly rejected.”

While the Justice Department has reached out to Pence’s attorneys, the report adds, “the discussions about questioning Mr. Pence are said to be in their early stages. Mr. Pence has not been subpoenaed, and the process could take months, because Mr. Trump can seek to block, or slow, his testimony by trying to invoke executive privilege.”

Pence could prove to be very important as the DOJ continues to weigh what actions it will take against Trump. Multiple federal grand juries are currently sitting to investigate both Jan. 6 and the classified document matter. Those could result in indictments against the former president for charges ranging from seditious conspiracy and violations of the Espionage Act.

Categories
Crime Donald Trump Jr. Eric Trump The Trump Organization

Don Jr. And Eric Gave Trump Org. CFO A $200K Raise After They Discovered He Was Cooking The Books

Allen Weisselberg, the former CFO of the Trump Organization, said said under oath Friday that Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump knew he was engaging in tax fraud on behalf of the company yet gave him a $200,000 a year raise after they found out about his crimes.

The New York Post reports that Don Jr. and Eric discovered Weisselberg’s illegal actions in 2017. Specifically, he and two other top Trump Org. executives were getting perks they didn’t report as income on their taxes, but the ex-president’s sons weren’t upset by the discovery.

The sons learned of the tax cheating during a “cleanup process” the company underwent with tax auditors when Trump took office as president, Weisselberg said.

When prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked the longtime chief financial officer if the Trump Org. demoted or punished him in light of the discovery, he said no.

“Were you in fact given a raise … that totaled approximately $200,000?” Hoffinger asked.

“Correct,” Weisselberg replied on his final day of testimony.

Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August of accepting $1.7 million worth of unreported benefits that included free rent on an expensive apartment on the Upper West Side, luxury cars, and private school tuition payments for his grandchildren.

The Trump Organization is accused of helping Weisselberg and other top managers cheat on their taxes for 15 years by falsifying reports to the government.

Today’s revelations come as Trump, his children, and his company are facing massive civil penalties in a case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. If Trump Org. is found guilty in that case, the company could face massive financial penalties and the imposition of a economic “death penalty” that prohibit them from ever doing business in the state of New York again. Trump Org. is headquartered in the Empire State even though the failed former president now lives in Palm Beach, Florida, at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

The one-term, twice-impeached ex-president it also facing the prospect of being charged under the Espionage Act for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago in violation of federal law.

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Crime Donald Trump

More ‘Extremely Bad News’ For Trump In The Legal Case Against Him In New York

As he attempts to fend off a massive civil judgement against him and his company, disgraced, one-term, twice-impeached former president Donald Trump found out Thursday that his pathetic countersuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James just wound up before a judge who has ruled against him in the past.

James is pursuing a case against Trump and the Trump Organization in civil court that could result in the company being seized and liquidated, so Donald decided it would be a great idea to sue the attorney general for “intimidation and harassment.” The countersuit also claimed that James was trying to “steal, destroy or control all things Trump.”

James had the case moved to federal court, and that led to it being assigned to a judge who just recently ruled against Trump, Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports.

“Extremely bad luck for Trump. He filed a lawsuit against NYAG Letitia James in Florida state court. James yesterday removed the case to federal court and it landed before … Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who just days ago sanctioned Trump attorneys for a frivolous lawsuit.”

Last week, Judge Middlebrooks harshly criticized and sanctioned some of Trump’s lawyers as part of a lawsuit filed against Hillary Clinton and several of his political enemies, chiding them for what he called an abuse of the legal system in order to settle personal grievances.

James is seeking a $250 million judgement against Trump and his company, and she may also decide to impose a legal “death penalty” against the Trump Organization, as former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance noted in February during an appearance on MSNBC:

“Details of other transactions that are highly questionable, and that may be sharp business practices or fraud, but James is likely to get her depositions, and she, of course, has jurisdiction under New York’s Martin Act to protect New York from sharp business practices. she has the authority to curtail businesses’ ability to operate, and even as she did with Trump’s charitable fund, to no longer permit them to operate in the state of New York. So the consequences here, just on the civil side, could be dramatic. The criminal investigation will proceed at its own pace.”

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Crime Donald Trump Espionage

DOJ Studying Two Federal Cases As They Consider Charging Trump With Espionage: Report

As U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Justice Department prosecutors consider whether or not (and when) to charge disgraced former president Donald Trump for violating several federal laws by illegally hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, two other cases of espionage are being carefully studied.

Ken Dilanian of NBC News reports one of the cases comes from Hawaii and the other from Kansas.

In February, a week before the National Archives warned the Justice Department that former President Donald Trump had kept Top Secret documents at his Florida compound, Asia Janay Lavarello was sentenced to three months in prison. She had pleaded guilty to taking classified records home from her job as an executive assistant at the U.S. military’s command in Hawaii. 

“Government employees authorized to access classified information should face imprisonment if they misuse that authority in violation of criminal law,” said Hawaii U.S. Attorney Claire Connors, who did not accuse Lavarello of showing anyone the documents. “Such breaches of national security are serious violations … and we will pursue them.”

[…]

In another example, a prosecutor advising the Mar-a-Lago team, David Raskin, just last week negotiated a felony guilty plea from an FBI analyst in Kansas City, who admitted talking home 386 classified documents over 12 years. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

The fact that the DOJ is looking at those two cases, according to former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, suggests Trump is in very hot water.

Appearing on MSNBC, McQuade noted:

“There are two questions that prosecutors ask themselves when deciding whether to bring charges. The first is: can we charge? That is, is there sufficient evidence to prove the case? That’s the first question, but then there’s that second question: should we bring a case? That’s when the government looks to whether or not there’s a federal — substantial evidence to bring a case.”

McQuade then explained her reasoning.

“We want to have uniformity in the kind of cases you prosecute. In cases involving the mishandling of classified documents, typically prosecutors look for some aggravating factor beyond just mishandling. If you innocently bring home a document in your briefcase, typically that is not prosecuted. you might be disciplined. you might lose your clearance you might lose your job, but probably not be criminally prosecuted.”

Other factors are also involved, McQuade concluded:

“It’s some of those factors that she mentioned in the Hawaii case and others, whether the person acted willfully, that is they knew they were violating the law. Whether they were disloyal to the United States, sold them to a foreign government for example, or whether they obstructed justice.

“That’s probably the factor that is most salient in the Trump investigation.”

Categories
Business Crime Donald Trump

Judge In Tax Fraud Case Appoints ‘Independent Monitor’ To Oversee Trump’s Finances

A New York judge ruled Thursday that an “independent monitor” will be appointed by the court to oversee the finances of former president Donald Trump and the Trump Organization during the tax fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

According to Josh Gerstein of Politico, the ruling is a big loss for the failed former president and his company, which is already facing financial uncertainty and multiple investigations.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron issued an order after a daylong hearing, requiring that the Trump Organization’s dealings with banks and sale of major assets be subject to supervision by a third party expert to be named by the court.

One provision in the order requires 14 days notice to the court before Trump can dispose of any “non-cash asset” listed in a financial statement his firm prepared last year.

The judge’s order came over strenuous objections from Trump’s lawyers in Manhattan earlier Thursday, where Trump’s team pleaded with Engoron to reject Attorney General Tish James’ bid to impose potentially far-reaching supervision of Trump’s business empire as litigation proceeds over her claims that the firms engaged in vast bank and insurance fraud in real estate transactions.

After Judge Engoron issued the ruling, James praised the decision:

“Time and time again, the courts have ruled that Donald Trump cannot evade the law for personal gain,” she said in a statement. “Today’s decision will ensure that Donald Trump and his companies cannot continue the extensive fraud that we uncovered and will require the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance at the Trump Organization.”

The judge also noted that while he believes the government has to meet a “heavy burden” to warrant the appointment of a financial monitor, all he has heard so far in the way of a defense from Trump’s attorneys is “little more than hot air.”

“Let’s be real here …They submitted all these documents,” the judge said to a lawyer for Trump, Christopher Kise. “What kind of evidence do you want? This is a motion for preliminary injunction.”

Kise suggested that such a move would be tantamount to placing the Trump Organization into receivership, arguing “It’s really more in the nature of seizing control of a successful corporation and interfering on a day-to-day basis with its financial arrangements.”

But Judge Engoron dismissed Kise’s argument by remarking:

“Your papers kept using the word receiver. … They’re not asking for one and that’s very different from a monitor. True or false?”

Kise also accused AG James of trying to make headlines in the midst of a midterm election, which will be held next Tuesday.

“We’re a few days out from an election. I’m hoping that’s not behind the motivation and the timing here, but I’m candidly a little bit cynical about it. … I hesitated to bring it up, but this really shouldn’t be about political theater.”

What Kise failed to add, however, is that Trump isn’t on the the ballot in any of the 50 states and is subject to the same laws as every other American.