Donald Trump slams fraud probe as 'witch hunt' & says NY Attorney General should focus on 'real crime & people dying'
DONALD Trump has branded the investigation into his business dealings a “witch hunt” and says the New York Attorney General should focus on tackling “real crime”.
The AG's office announced on Tuesday that the Trump Organization is under an active criminal investigation.
Trump compared the probe to a "witch hunt" and said Attorney General Letitia James should focus on "real crime", DailyMail.com reports.
In a statement, he said: “There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime. But make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here.
“The Attorney General of New York literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me.”
The president claimed that prosecutors are “consumed” with a “political and partisan witch hunt” at a time of rising crime rates.
Shooting incidents in New York City reportedly increased by 166 percent last month when compared to data from April 2020.
The NY Attorney General’s Office told CNN that the probe into the Trump Organization’s business dealings is “no longer purely civil”.
Spokesperson Fabien Levy told the outlet: “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the Organization is no longer purely civil in nature.
“We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA. We have no additional comment.”
The AG's office statement did not specify what exactly prompted turning the probe into a criminal one but the investigation has been ongoing since 2019.
James announced over the summer that her office had filed a suit to force the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas related to the investigation into whether the former president's company inflated the value of its assets on financial statements.
The notice from James's office was sent in late April to attorneys representing the Trump Organization, The Washington Post reports.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's office has also been investigating the former president's dealings for more than two years as well.
Vance's office has said in court filings that it was investigating "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct" at the Trump Organization.
The district attorney appears to be targeting Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, DailyMail.com reports.
It was reported in The Wall Street Journal that the Manhattan District Attorney's office had filed a subpoena against Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School over $500,000 in fees for Weisselberg's grandchildren.
It's claimed the payments were made between 2012 and 2019 and checks were signed either by Weisselberg or Trump.
Weisselberg has not been accused or charged with any crime and Trump has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
The DA's probe began after Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen paid hush money to silence two women, including porn star Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 election about alleged sexual encounters with Trump.
Cohen started working for the Trump Organization in 2006, and in 2018 he was sentenced to three years for his involvement in assisting tax evasion and campaign finance fraud. He was released last April.
The NYAG and NYDA are investigating how the Trump Organization assessed the value of Seven Springs – a 212-acre estate located north of Manhattan.
It was purchased in 1995 and Trump's company has claimed the mansion on the grounds was used as a family retreat.
The former president had aspirations to build a golf course and luxury homes but plans never materialized.
The news of a criminal probe comes as a top prosecutor in Florida said that officials in the state would not be able to prevent Trump from being extradited to New York City should he be charged with a crime there.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg told CNN Newsroom that even Florida governor Ron DeSantis would not be able to stop the extradition.
When asked if he had been involved in conversations with prosecutors about the possibility of extraditing Trump, Aronberg said, "I can clear that up.
“We have not had conversations with prosecutors in New York about this."
He later added: "The governor's power to stop an extradition is really nonexistent.”
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