New York prosecutors were preparing a criminal case against Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. before the District Attorney overruled his prosecutors after a visit from a top campaign donor who was Donald Trump’s personal attorney, ProPublica reports.
According to the bombshell report, prosecutors spent two years preparing a felony fraud case against the two Trump children for misleading potential buyers of condos in the Trump SoHo building.
According to ProPublica, “An indictment seemed like a real possibility. The evidence included emails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers.”
One of the emails reportedly shows the Trumps discuss how to coordinate false information they gave to potential buyers. Another reportedly shows they were worried a reporter might be on to their scheme. Another email shows Donald Jr. reassuring a broker who was worried about the false information, saying that no one will ever find out because only people in the inner circle were aware what was happening.
One of the ProPublica’s sources said there was “no doubt” Ivanka and Don Jr. “approved, knew of, agreed to, and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales. They knew it was wrong.”
The New York DA’s Major Economic Crimes Bureau launched an investigation into the Trump kids. The Trumps’ attorneys admitted that the Trump children made exaggerated claims but insisted that those claims were not criminal.
Despite their lawyers’ best efforts, the investigation continued until 2012. That’s when Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. got a visitor.
Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, who was also one of Vance’s top donors after giving his campaign $25,000, appealed to the DA to drop the case.
According to ProPublica, “Kasowitz did not introduce any new arguments or facts during his session. He simply repeated the arguments that the other defense lawyers had been making for months.”
Despite that, Vance overruled his own prosecutors and told them to drop the case.
Kasowitz is quoted as boasting about getting the case dropped, calling it “really dangerous,” adding that it was “amazing I got them off.”
Vance insisted, “I did not at the time believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed. I had to make a call and I made the call, and I think I made the right call.”
According to ProPublica, Vance’s campaign returned the $25,000 to Kasowitz, saying he “had no influence and his contributions had no influence whatsoever on my decision-making in the case.”
But less than six months after he dropped the case, Kasowitz made an even bigger donation of $50,000 to his reelection campaign and raised money from others.
Vance defended accepting the donation, telling the ProPublica dropping the case was “the right thing.”
“Another five and a half months go by. Marc Kasowitz has no matter pending before the office for the Trumps or anybody else. It’s 2013 and it’s an election — and I welcome his support.”
Still, he said he will return the donation, four years after the fact.
“I don’t want the money to be a millstone around anybody’s neck, including the office’s,” he said.