February 22, 2018

Ivanka, Trump Jr. Were Nearly Charged for Fraud

06 October 2017, 12:43 | Kara Nash

Questions raised over how Trump Jr., Ivanka avoided indictment in real estate deal

Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. were almost indicted over fraud accusations: report

New York prosecutors had investigated Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. for allegedly giving false information to prospective buyers of condo units in their troubled Trump SoHo development, according to a joint investigation out Wednesday from ProPublica, WNYC and The New Yorker.

The District Attorney's office had a solid case and refused to drop it - the evidence included email messages from Trumps confirming that they were aware that they were lying and using overly inflated numbers to lure potential buyers. In January 2012, Kasowitz donated $25,000 to Vance's reelection campaign.

"This was a two-year investigation that never produced sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution, " said the spokeswoman, Joan Vollero. "I had to make a call and I made the call, and I think I made the right call". "None of the decisions revolved around campaign contributions at all, or anything other than my assessment that this was not a case the office should prosecute, on the merits". Vance has told the reporting team that he will return Kasowitz's second contribution, as well. Three months later, Vance pulled the plug.

In August, Vance dropped the case without every impaneling a grand jury - a decision he insists was on the merits, unrelated to Kasowitz's attempts to wield influence.

In a written statement to the publications, Kasowitz said, "I donated to Cy Vance's campaign because I was and remain extremely impressed by him as a person of impeccable integrity, as a brilliant lawyer and as a public servant with creative ideas and tremendous ability". He denied he had given with the expectation of a "quid pro quo".

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Soon after the meeting, Vance had his staff end the investigation. Their refusal to testify willingly made it doubly hard to get an indictment or prove the case in court.

"I don't want the money to be a millstone around anybody's neck, including the office's", Vance told ProPublica. The buyers would also have to agree they wouldn't cooperate with prosecutors unless subpoenaed. Their lawyer wrote a letter to Vance stating the plaintiffs had settled the lawsuit amicably and that, in their view, the defendants had not broken the law. But the circumstances around the case's eventual dismissal that the reporters describe are unusual, to say the least. It also sparked a criminal fraud investigation, with prosecutors believing Ivanka and Donald Jr., may have violated the Martin Act, which makes it illegal in NY to make false statements in connection with real estate sales. Vance overruled his own prosecutors, telling them to drop the case.

Enter longtime Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz, who recently represented the president in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe before leaving the White House legal team in July. But Marc Kasowitz, Donald Trump's personal attorney, was able to secure a meeting with Vance himself.

That group of 20 House Democrats pointed to contacts Kushner failed to report initially, such as his meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the latter of which was also attended by then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump June 2016. Besides Vance, Alonso and Adam Kaufmann, the chief of the investigative division, were there.

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