Donald Trump was born in New York. Queens, to be exact. He’s lived in New York his entire life. His business is headquartered in New York, and that’s where he decided to build the tower he lived in before he became president.
So it seems only fitting that Trump would be under the greatest legal threat in New York state. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has multiple investigations underway into Trump, the Trump inaugural committee, and the Trump Organization. The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating Trump and his business. Oh, and the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance Jr., has active probes into Trump, too.
Thanks to Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, all of these jurisdictions have volumes of evidence proving crimes that range from bank fraud to money laundering, tax evasion to wire fraud.
As Ryan Lizza writes in Esquire today, there’s a very Big Apple feeling to the remaining investigations now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has completed his examination of the 2016 election:
“Imagine if prosecutors are digging into Trump’s finances and companies the same way they dug into Cohen’s. Cohen has already given them a roadmap to potential charges against his former boss. In his public and private testimony before Congressional committees, Cohen alleged a long list of behavior by Trump and his companies that are the sorts of things that might sound minor, and which have received surprisingly little coverage while everyone has been focused on collusion, but in an aggressive prosecutor’s hands could amount to felonies.”
Proving collusion with a foreign government (which was Mueller’s job) is very difficult, so it should surprise no one that the special counsel didn’t manage to accomplish that, despite the many contacts between Russia and members of the Trump campaign.
Financial crimes, on the other hand, are relatively easy to probe, because money leaves a trail, no matter how diligently you try to hide it, wash it, or move it around from country to country, bank to bank. And that’s why Lizza rightly concludes:
“The real danger for Trump—and his closest family members—is from zealous prosecutors in New York who have already shown in the Cohen case that it is rather easy to find criminality, especially around taxes and banking, when the target is, to put it mildly, less than scrupulous with his books.”
There are enormous legal potholes filed with quicksand waiting for Donald Trump in his beloved home state of New York. He was born there, and his downfall will take place there, too.