Glenn Kirschner is right: “We will see charges way beyond ‘hush money’’ by Manhattan DA versus Trump. Here is how we know.
The media is missing the bigger case
Many in the media reporting on the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into Donald Trump are solely fixated on potential charges in connection with Trump’s $130,000 “hush money” payment made to Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign to buy her silence about their past affair. But they are missing the real story: Donald Trump will very likely be charged with various other crimes apart from the “hush money” payment—including potentially violating the New York state version of RICO.
I say that for a few reasons. As former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner predicted on my SiriusXM show earlier this week, “we will see charges way beyond hush money.” Kirschner backed that up noting that the criminal case brought by the Manhattan DA against the Trump organization that led to a guilty verdict in December--in his view--likely “shook” evidence from the tree that implicated Trump personally.
As a reminder, in December a Manhattan jury found two Trump Organization companies guilty on multiple charges of criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records connected to a 15-year scheme to defraud tax authorities by failing to report and pay taxes on compensation for top executives. While Trump was not charged, his name was mentioned repeatedly during the trial by prosecutors about his connection to the benefits provided to certain executives, including company-funded apartments, car leases and personal expenses.
As Kirschner correctly pointed out, the prosecutor in that case, Joshua Steinglass, told the jury in closing arguments that “Mr. Trump is explicitly sanctioning tax fraud.” The prosecutor even suggested that Trump could be deemed an unindicted co-conspirator. Steinglass added, “This whole narrative that Donald Trump is blissfully ignorant is just not true.”
Just so it is clear: a prosecutor in a courtroom is not a pundit on Fox News who can openly lie without fear of consequences. A prosecutor can only say in closing what the evidence introduced at trial has shown.
But there’s more evidence than that—and much of it comes from Mark Pomerantz who was in essence a special prosecutor brought in by the previous Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, to spearhead the Trump investigation. Pomerantz had a long distinguished career as a lawyer before that—from serving as a federal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to later becoming a partner at one the nation’s top law firms to serving on the faculty of Columbia Law School. He had been in retirement when DA Vance asked him in February 2021 to work as a special assistant district attorney with the mandate of focusing on one investigation: Donald Trump.
In February 2022, Pomerantz resigned his position with the Manhattan DA when it was made clear to him by the new DA, Alvin Bragg, that he would not seek criminal charges against Trump. In his resignation letter directed to Bragg, it’s very telling that Pomerantz did not cite the “hush money” related crimes as ones that must be pursued but instead the much broader financial crimes committed by Trump. Pomerantz wrote: “As you know from our recent conversations and presentations, I believe that Donald Trump is guilty of numerous felony violations of the Penal Law in connection with the preparation and use of his annual Statements of Financial Condition.”
He added about Trump, “His financial statements were false, and he has a long history of fabricating information relating to his personal finances and lying about his assets to banks, the national media, counterparties, and many others, including the American people.” The clearly frustrated Pomerantz continued: “The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did.”
Pomerantz concluded: “I and others have advised you that we have evidence sufficient to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and we believe that the prosecution would prevail if charges were brought and the matter were tried to an impartial jury.”
That letter in a vacuum was intriguing. But we received even more details into the Trump investigation in Pomerantz’ book released in February, “People vs. Donald Trump.” In reading this book, it’s clear that the hush money scheme was the start of the investigation but soon the focus became Trump’s numerous financial crimes. As Pomerantz explained, the presentation he made to Bragg shortly after the new DA took over was focused on Trump’s “fabrication” of financial records that he dubbed were “pervasive, substantial and continuous over many years.” He noted that Trump was personally involved—based on the evidence they gathered—in the preparation of these false financial statements.
Pomerantz even had an entire chapter titled, “Enterprise Corruption,” which is the name for New York state’s version of “the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act” better known as, “RICO.” In this chapter, Pomerantz laid out how his team had gathered evidence that “Trump had grown the business…through a pattern of criminal activity.” He explained that the potential “pattern” of crimes included “defrauding persons and entities about this net worth and the value of his assets, underpaying his federal and state income and property taxes” and more. In that laundry list of examples, he included Trump falsifying business records to conceal the hush money payment—but that was one small part of the bigger picture.
There’s also a small fact that has been lost in the media coverage that further supports that the charges against Trump will likely be well beyond hush money. Pomerantz wrote that in his February 2022 meeting discussing the case, Bragg stated that he “could not see a world” in which they would call Michael Cohen as a witness to obtain an indictment against Trump. The apparent reason being that Cohen—Trump’s former lawyer and fixer-- had plead guilty in 2018 to nine crimes including lying to Congress, tax evasion and campaign finance violations and was sentence to 3 years in prison. Without Cohen as in essence in the “narrator” of Trump’s financial crimes as Pomerantz dubbed him, proving the financial charges would be much more challenging.
But something changed Bragg’s mind from the time Pomerantz finished his book in September to now given that Cohen was called by the Manhattan DA to testify twice before the grand jury earlier this week. It’s unclear why but Pomerantz wrote of his surprise that Bragg had dismissed calling Cohen so quickly given Bragg had “never met” Cohen or interviewed him. That fact changed in January when Cohen met with the Manhattan DA’s prosecutors. Common sense tells us that the prosecutors believed what Cohen had to say or they would not have called him as a witness this week.
Finally, we know that this current investigation—despite the headlines Wednesday that Stormy Daniels was meeting with the prosecutors –extended beyond hush money from NY Times reporting just one week ago in an article titled, “Prosecutors Signal Criminal Charges for Trump Are Likely.” The Times wrote that, “The portion of the investigation concerned with Mr. Trump’s net worth is continuing, people with knowledge of the matter said.”
At this point it appears Trump will be charged—the question is when and what will the charges include. But don’t be surprised if Trump is charged with crimes well beyond “hush money.”
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Ides of March
The question as why Bragg is pushing now is headlines. He wants the "distinction" of being first to indict now that he perceives tfg is wounded and weakened.
Before he just wanted to show the very rich that Manhatten was a consequent free zone for the very rich but now there is blood in the water he can no longer ignore.
Another point as to whether they cuff and perp walk him is that considering he has bragged that he never goes anywhere with out a gun (waved it at a rally ) standard practice would be having a swat team to take down an admittedly armed individual engaged in violeent rhetoric.