A week ago, thanks to some excellent investigative reporting by the New York Times, we learned that two fraud investigations are underway in New York into millions of dollars of tax write-offs for consulting fees which were paid by Donald Trump to his daughter, Ivanka:
“The inquiries — a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and a civil one by the state attorney general, Letitia James — are being conducted independently. But both offices issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization in recent weeks for records related to the fees, the people said.”
That means that the president, his company, and his daughter are all suspected of criminal behavior which could lead to indictments and incarceration of anywhere from three to 25 years for all involved.
All of this has led retired judge Bill Blum to note in an article that he believes Ivanka will soon face a decision: Snitch on her father or go to prison by remaining silent.
Blum begins his op-ed explaining that President Trump is about to lose the legal protection afforded to sitting U.S. heads of state:
“Trump cannot be pardoned for state crimes, and absent a federal pardon, once he leaves office, he will lose the immunity he now enjoys as a sitting president from prosecution for any federal offenses he may have committed. And while Trump’s attorneys currently are back before the Supreme Court, asking the panel to narrow the scope of Vance’s subpoenas, that effort would appear similarly doomed once Trump departs the White House.”
The lack of a legal shield could also prove to be dangerous for Ivanka, who will also be exposed once her daddy is out of office:
“What this means for Ivanka remains to be seen. She has not yet been formally accused of committing a crime, or officially been named as a target of any investigation. Moreover, even if she is eventually indicted, everyone—even a Trump—is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Still, as the clock ticks down on the Trump presidency, the first daughter may well be advised to ponder whether her legal interests and those of her father have diverged to the point where it would be better to cooperate with the authorities, fess up, and ultimately turn state’s evidence.”
Former New York City prosecutor Elura Nanos concurs with Blum, suggesting that Ivanka is in very real legal jeopardy:
“This could be a problem, as Ms. Trump was an executive officer both of the company making the payment and the company doing the consulting. When a key person is on both sides of such a transaction, tax deductions could be illegal if the payments were inflated.”
Pretty soon, Ivanka may have to make a decision: Save herself or do time to save her father. And in the end, if she chooses not to cooperate, both she and daddy could be wearing orange jumpsuits and pondering the mistakes that put them in prison.