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New York's Probe Into Trump Organization Is Now A Criminal Inquiry

New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into the Trump Organization has expanded into a criminal probe, her office confirmed.
Mandel Ngan
AFP via Getty Images
New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into the Trump Organization has expanded into a criminal probe, her office confirmed.

The New York state attorney general's office has widened its probe into the Trump Organization to include an examination of potential criminal wrongdoing, according to the office's spokesman.

Previously, the office was investigating former President Donald Trump's namesake company in a solely civil matter with New York Attorney General Letitia James focusing on whether the company improperly valued its assets for loan and tax purposes.

However, now the state's investigation has entered "a criminal capacity," spokesman Fabien Levy confirmed to NPR late Tuesday.

"We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature," Levy said in a statement. "We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA."

Levy said additional details couldn't be shared at this time. It was not immediately clear whether the former president himself, or members of his family, were part of this latest criminal investigation. It's also unclear when the attorney general notified the Trump Organization of the broadening scope of the probe.

The expanded state case against the Trump Organization means the company and former president could face two criminal cases from separate prosecutors.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is already in the middle of a wide-ranging fraud investigation. In February, following a protracted legal battle, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained the former president's tax returns. Prosecutors have focused on Trump's business dealings and those of his associates, including his chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, and Weisselberg's family.

Vance has said the statute of limitations for bringing charges against the company will soon expire. His term also ends on Dec. 31.

If one or both of the prosecutors believes there is enough evidence to charge the former president, his associates, or his company, an official complaint will likely be filed by the end of the year.

Trump, Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have denied any wrongdoing and have said the prosecutors are politically motivated.

In a statement Wednesday, Trump said of the probe: "There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jaclyn Diaz is a reporter on Newshub.
Andrea Bernstein