Former President Donald Trump’s time in the White House protected him from several inquiries and litigation, but it could now put him in greater legal danger from New York investigators looking into his finances.
Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have considered charging disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein with earlier conduct using a provision of New York criminal procedure law that they successfully used in their sexual harassment case against him, according to people familiar with the matter. When a criminal has been out of state “continuously,” the statute of limitations may be extended under this provision.
When a criminal has been out of state “continuously,” the statute of limitations may be extended under this provision. Trump has only spent a few days in New York since taking office in January 2017, which means prosecutors could effectively add that time to the clock and investigate earlier behaviour.
While that is likely to apply only to the former President, legal experts tell CNN that prosecutors benefit from a March executive order signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that paused the clock on the statute of limitations to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the New York court system.
Trump’s counsel refused to comment. The district attorney’s office declined to comment via a spokesperson. According to people familiar with the matter, New York investigators are looking into Trump and the Trump Organization’s finances, including whether lenders, insurance firms, and tax authorities were deceived about the values attributed to those properties.
They’re also looking at whether other crimes were committed, such as tax fraud, as a result of the various deductions and hush-money payments made to silence Stormy Daniels’ claims of an affair with Trump.
Throughout the investigation, which began in 2018, the clock has been a major source of concern. During their fight to obtain Trump’s tax returns, Carey Dunne, the district attorney’s general counsel, told a federal judge that they had “continuing fears regarding the possible destruction of vital proof and the expiration of statutes of limitations.”
The district attorney’s office received millions of pages of Trump’s tax returns and other documents at the end of last month, and sifting through them will take time.