A special grand jury has been convened in New York to look into former president Donald Trump’s business dealings. Here, compiled from Globe wire services and major media reports, is what you need to know:
What is the grand jury going to do?
The grand jury is expected to consider evidence in a criminal investigation being conducted by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Prosecutors could ask it to hand up indictments of Trump, or other officials at his company, or the business itself, The Washington Post reported Tuesday night, citing two people familiar with the latest development. The Post story included a caveat: Prosecutors could also decide not to seek indictments.
What has Vance been investigating?
Vance has been conducting a wide-ranging investigation for two years into a variety of matters such as hush-money payments paid to women on Trump’s behalf, whether the values of Trump Organization properties were manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies, and whether any tax benefits were obtained illegally through asset valuation. Vance also is examining the compensation given to top Trump Organization executives.
Vance had already used an investigative grand jury to issue subpoenas and obtain documents, The Associated Press reported. After a lengthy legal battle, he obtained Trump’s tax returns and other financial documents earlier this year.
How big a deal is the latest news?
The new grand jury indicates the investigation has reached an advanced stage, according to the Post, which broke the story Tuesday night. Rebecca Roiphe, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan who is now a professor at New York Law School, told the Post the seating of the new grand jury indicates prosecutors believe they have evidence to show that there is probable cause to believe someone committed a crime. “The prosecutors are convinced they have a case. That’s at least how I read it,” Roiphe added.
What does Trump say?
Trump used a favorite phrase, “witch hunt,” to describe the investigation. “This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,” the Republican said in a statement.
What other legal troubles does Trump face?
The investigation by Vance, who is a Democrat, is far from the only legal trouble on the horizon for the divisive, twice-impeached former president. The legal website Just Security has compiled a list of 11 civil cases and three criminal investigations. The cases range from defamation suits by women Trump allegedly assaulted to suits over his pre-presidential business dealings to suits and an investigation over his alleged role in the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol.
Let’s say Trump was charged and convicted. Could he still run for president?
Trump could emerge unscathed from all 14 cases listed by Just Security. But what kind of impact would it have on his future business and political prospects if he doesn’t?
Business Insider considered the most extreme scenario, Trump being convicted of a crime and imprisoned, and asked nine legal experts if he could still run for president. The answer was yes, though they said for him to actually serve as president would be more complicated.
Laurence Tribe, an emeritus Harvard Law School professor, said in a tweet, “Crazy question, but we’ve learned to rule nothing out as too crazy when Trump is involved.”
I’m one of the experts quoted here saying Trump could run — and win — while in prison, though Sec 4 of the 25th Amendment might well be invoked to sideline him if he were to win. Crazy question, but we’ve learned to rule nothing out as too crazy when Trump is involved. https://t.co/AvOlOpsm66— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 26, 2021
Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.
Martin Finucane can be reached at email@example.com.