New York state prosecutors in Manhattan are reportedly considering pushing for criminal charges against the Trump Organization and top company officials. The charges would relate to the hush-money payments made by former longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
In Cohen’s guilty pleas this week he admitted he had made illegal payments on behalf of the president, and then submitted invoices to the Trump Organization for payment.
According to charging documents, several high-level executives in the Trump Organization were aware of the illegal payments at the time they were made, and approved them. This means that Trump’s company, as well as its senior executives, have been implicated in the same crimes to which Michael Cohen pleaded guilty.
Yesterday the New York Times reported that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is considering criminal charges against the company based on Cohen’s payment to Stormy Daniels. The state officials said they are reviewing the matter and no decision has been made on pursuing charges at this time.
“CNN analyst explains how state case against Trump Organization would be ‘nightmare’ that destroys the entire family”
CNN analyst explains how state case against Trump Organization would be 'nightmare' that destroys the entire familyhttps://t.co/wB09qmT48E
— Raw Story (@RawStory) August 24, 2018
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the Manhattan District Attorney may be eyeing criminal charges against the Trump Organization.
According to CNN analyst Michael D’Antonio the filing of criminal charges against the company and its top executives would be terrifying for Trump for several reasons. (D’Antonio is the author of over 20 books including a Trump biography, and he is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize.)
For one thing, because the charges would be prosecuted at the state level, Trump could not issue pardons since presidents don’t have the ability to pardon state crimes. Trump is reportedly discussing using a pardon to free former campaign manager Paul Manafort who was convicted of 8 federal crimes earlier in the week.
Also, because the Trump Organization is a family business, charges brought against the company “would mark the end of Trump’s long standing plans for his family business,” according to D’Antonio.
Speaking to CNN host Don Lemon, D’Antonio said:
“This is an organization that has 500 different entities, businessman Donald Trump, before he was president, really specialized in clever engineering, clever financial dealings, in order to fund these enterprises, shift profit around. Now, for the first time, it’s all going to be opened up for examination. This is why he didn’t release his tax returns. He didn’t want people to actually have access to the numbers, and we may now have access to the numbers.”
As a privately owned (non-public) company, all of its financial records are kept private, but a criminal case against the Trump Organization would open up all financial records to prosecutors and eventually to the public through the trial process.
All of the president’s confidential financial documents, including his tax returns, would probably be disclosed to member of the jury as well as the general public. In D’Antonio’s opinion, “This is really his nightmare. He’s operated as a private, family business for all these years to avoid scrutiny.”
If the company and its executives are found guilty of crimes, it would also mark the demise of the entire Trump Organization as we know it today.
“He wanted to hand this whole enterprise off to his children, and his children spoke to me about how they would run it as a normal business and not be so flagrant in their publicity seeking,” D’Antonio said. “They may never get the chance.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.