New York Attorney General Letitia (Trish) James promised after she was elected in November that she would “use every area of the law” to investigate President Donald Trump. She won in a landslide, primarily because the theme of her campaign was “Get Trump.”
And now she has started to make moves that will ultimately result in criminal charges against the president, his family and his business associates.
And, according to NBC News, James may also be planning to completely destroy Trump’s business, the Trump Organization, which she has the power to do under New York law.
With special counsel Mueller's probe now complete, others' investigations, including the New York attorney general's, are continuing. https://t.co/j68YRs4fwZ
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) April 1, 2019
New York’s Attorney General Has Almost Unlimited Power
New York’s statutes give the attorney general’s office the power to dissolve entire business entities in some situations. It has done this in the past, and the Trump Organization may qualify for this special treatment due to its unique history, and its alleged criminal activities.
This could lead James to the conclusion that dissolving Trump’s entire business operation is legally warranted.
Just a few weeks ago James issued subpoenas to several banks where Trump had borrowed large amounts of money. She is seeking more information about Trump’s business and personal finances. James can subpoena witnesses and documents without first receiving a referral from the governor or a state agency, which gives her almost unlimited power.
A 1921 Law Allows New York to ‘Pass a Judgment of Corporate Death’
If a business is found to have engaged in “persistent fraud” a 1921 New York law allows the attorney general to initially seek restitution and damages, and ultimately dissolution. The law applies to any financial transaction conducted in the state of New York.
In the past it has been used to pursue securities fraud and other white-collar crimes. Usually these are handled by federal prosecutors, but not in New York.
What’s unique (and very dangerous for Donald Trump) is that New York’s attorney general holds the “power to pass a judgment of corporate death.” According to the state Supreme Court, James could do this to Trump if his company’s crimes are deemed a “harm or menace to the public welfare.”
New York Probes Into Trump’s Crimes Were Helped By Michael Cohen
James is actually carrying on investigations that began with her predecessors in the attorney general’s office. It’s not 100% clear what crimes James’ office is currently investigating, but it appears that bank fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud and money laundering may be included in her probe.
She started looking at Trump’s banking relationships after his former attorney Michael Cohen told Congress last month that the president had inflated the value of his assets in financial statements he submitted in loan applications.
According to this morning’s report from NBC News, James’ investigation into Trump and his business has been moving very quickly in recent weeks. They may already have evidence that Trump had consistently defrauded financial institutions, along with their investors and customers.
Former federal prosecutors say that proving fraud is extremely easy, so long as the prosecutors have the documents which show that Trump misled banks about his assets.
The New York Probe Poses the Biggest Threat to Trump, His Children, and His Business
Although other investigations have gotten the headlines, the New York attorney general may pose the greatest threat to Donald Trump, his children, and his criminal business enterprise.
Criminal charges that come out of New York cannot be pardoned by Donald Trump, or any subsequent president. Ultimately the Mueller report may be totally inconsequential if Trish James brings criminal charges that can be proven in court.
Donald Trump, his children, and his business may soon be indicted for their criminal activities, and there is nothing that Donald Trump can do about it.
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.