The probe began by looking into allegations Trump had misstated property values to get tax benefits.
The New York state attorney general’s examination of the Trump Organization is now also a criminal investigation, a spokesperson for the attorney general said on Tuesday night.
The investigation is “no longer purely civil in nature,” Fabien Levy, the spokesperson for New York Attorney General Letitia James, confirmed to POLITICO by email. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan D.A. We have no additional comment at this time.”
CNN was the first to report the news on Tuesday night.
James’ office is undertaking a sweeping probe of former President Donald Trump and his family over allegedly misstating property values to get tax benefits. In February, the Supreme Court paved the way for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s team to get eight years of Trump’s tax returns and financial records as a part of Vance’s criminal probe into potential tax, insurance and bank fraud.
The new development appears to expand the potential liability for Trump, who is now facing separate criminal probes from prosecutors in New York, and also suggests collaboration in the two investigations.
James’ inquiry started in 2019 after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen said in a congressional hearing that Trump had inflated the value of assets to banks to get better loans and insurance, while undervaluing them to cut his tax liability. Vance’s investigation has also appeared to be focused on allegations from Cohen, who has also claimed Trump committed fraud while dealing with insurance companies, which Trump and the Trump Organization have denied.
James’ office has focused on Trump properties that include the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and 40 Wall Street in New York City.
James pledged to hold Trump accountable, and she spearheaded or joined into dozens of efforts to challenge the Trump administration on a number of issues when Trump was in office. Last fall, a judge ordered the former president’s son Eric Trump to answer questions under oath as part of the investigation.
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