U.S. President Donald Trump could be facing a widening investigation in his former home, with Manhattan’s district attorney appearing to confirm on Friday that a probe into the president goes beyond a claim that he authorized hush money payments through his former personal lawyer.
As Talking Points Memo reported, attorneys representing Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance said in a court filing on Friday that there appears to be enough information to extend the probe beyond the claims that he took part in the payoff to adult film star Stormy Daniels that helped land Michael Cohen behind bars.
“Given that this much information about potentially widespread and protracted criminal conduct was in the public record (and without going into any additional, nonpublic sources), it is not plausible to speculate, let alone infer, that the grand jury investigation was limited to Cohen’s 2016 payments,” the attorneys wrote in Friday’s court filing.
Cohen had previously said that he made illegal payments to keep Daniels quiet about her claims of an affair with Trump in the months after the birth of his youngest son, doing so at the then-real estate mogul’s instruction. The president has denied any wrongdoing.
As the report noted, Vance had already suggested that Trump was under investigation for fraud for allegations that his company had kept two different sets of books, showing differing levels of assets to lenders and to investors.
As The Inquisitr reported, the case could potentially lead to serious consequences for Trump. Biographer David Cay Johnston, who has long covered Trump’s finances, told Raw Story that a conviction on fraud charges could ultimately land him in prison once he is out of the White House. He added that there was no way to know definitively whether the charges and trial would ultimately play out.
“Absolutely yes, if we are a nation of equal justice and Trump is convicted of serious felonies,” Johnston said, adding, “Whether it happens is entirely unpredictable.”
As Talking Points Memo noted, Trump has also pushed back, with his attorneys saying in a legal filing that the allegations laid out do not cross the bar for criminal charges.
“Many of the allegations in the District Attorney’s extraneous sources that form the basis of his invitation to imagine an investigation broad enough to justify this subpoena, relate to civil, not criminal, conduct,” the document read.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing but has been dealt a series of legal setbacks including a Supreme Court ruling that the Manhattan district attorney could proceed with seeking his tax records. Trump had argued that he should be able to shield the office from seeking his records.