As if things weren’t bad enough for the ex-president and his corrupt family of white-collar criminals, multiple reports have now indicated that prosecutors appear to be treating their investigation into the former president’s business, the Trump Organization, in much the same way they would if they were investigating and prosecuting a Mafia family.
Multiple legal experts and former prosecutors recently spoke with POLITICO and suggested that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is likely considering his own round of criminal charges — on the heels of New York District Attorney Letitia James’ decision to bump her office’s charges against the former president up to a criminal level — based on the idea that the Trump Organization is a “corrupt enterprise” under the definition of a New York state racketeering statute that heavily resembles the federal RICO law. The RICO law is abbreviated from the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law passed in 1970 to close in on widespread organized crime, such as mobs and the mafia.
Longtime New York City defense attorney Robert Anello said, “No self-respecting state white-collar prosecutor would forgo considering the enterprise corruption charge. I’m sure they’re thinking about that.”
The “little RICO” law can only be utilized if prosecutors are able to establish that at least three separate crimes were committed by an organization or business, creating a tangible “pattern of criminal behavior.” If prosecuted under this statute, the sentence can carry up to 25 years in prison, with a minimum of at least one year behind bars.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news!
Subscribe and start recieving our daily emails.
To make this possibility even more plausible, the New York Times reported back in February that Vance had even hired Mark Pomerantz to strengthen his team, a veteran mob prosecutor and white-collar crime expert.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that Donald Trump has long been known for his association with several notable mob families in New York, even cushioning his finances to build the infamous Manhattan Trump Tower with help from a concrete company run by Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano. According to a report from Busniess Insider, Salerno and Castellano were bosses of the Genovese and Gambino families at the time.
In the same vein that ultimately took down the Genovese and Gambino families, prosecutors have seemingly relied on the testimonies of “family” members of the Trump Organization, such as CFO Alen Weisselberg, to take down the business belonging to the ex-president. Weisselberg’s daughter-in-law Jennifer is already willingly cooperating with investigators and has said on multiple occasions that she fully believes that Allen will ultimately flip on Donald Trump.
In addition to Cyrus Vance putting the squeeze on “family” members of the Trump Organization, Letitia James, who recently agreed to work together with Vance in their investigations against the ex-president, has begun to turn the heat up on Donald’s actual family members, with the New York Times indicating that she recently forced Trump’s middle son Eric to sit for a deposition interview.
However, with all of that being said, there’s no denying that pursuing racketeering charges comes with its own specific set of risks. So much so that many legal experts say prosecutors would be better off seeking straightforward indictments on specific charges against the Trump Organization and its members that are ultimately easier to litigate.
One former prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s office, Jeremy Saland, told POLITICO, “Why overcharge and complicate something that could be fairly simple? Why muddy up the water? Why give a defense attorney something that could confuse a jury and be able to crow that they beat a charge in a motion to dismiss?”
Of course, no matter whether he’s being investigated and indicted on specific charges or as part of a much larger organized crime ordeal, former President Trump has continually denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly labeled any and all investigations into himself or his organization as a “witch hunt.” And no matter what, we don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.
Featured image via screen capture