Two jurisdictions in the United States where legal troubles could land former US president Donald Trump in jail are the state of New York, and Fulton County in the state of Georgia where the Attorney General and District Attorney respectively are African America women. And they are fierce in their pursuit of justice.
Meet Leticia James popularly known as “Tish” of New York, and Fani Willis of Georgia.
Since 2019, James’s office has been conducting an investigation of business practices inside the Trump Organization and family.
Trump has fought fiercely in court, but month after month, James has succeeded in unearthing financial records that appear to be adding up to a giant legal hazard for the former president, analysts say.
“He should be very concerned,” said George Albro, co-chair of the New York Progressive Action Network who has known James going back to when he was a union officer in New York City and she was a public defender. “She’s going to take this to its logical conclusion.”
James is investigating whether Trump inflated the value of his properties for the purpose of acquiring loans against them, and significantly lowering the value of those same properties for the purpose of paying lower taxes on them.
The attorney general’s office said in a court filing that an appraiser hired by Trump before the conservation agreement set one of his property’s value at $56.5 million and the easement’s value at $21.1 million – an amount Trump claimed as an income tax deduction.
The attorney general’s office, in an August court filing, said it was investigating whether the assessment was “improperly inflated” to increase the tax benefit. In filings, prosecutors cited emails from Trump Organization representatives to the appraisers arguing for a higher valuation.
And in Fulton County in Gerogia, the district attorney investigating whether Trump illegally interfered with Georgia’s 2020 election has hired an outside lawyer who is a national authority on racketeering, a source familiar with the matter said.
Fani Willis has enlisted the help of Atlanta lawyer John Floyd, who wrote a national guide on prosecuting state racketeering cases. Floyd was hired recently to “provide help as needed” on matters involving racketeering, including the Trump investigation and other cases, said the source, who has direct knowledge of the situation.
The move bolsters the team investigating Trump as Willis prepares to issue subpoenas for evidence on whethe
The investigation of Trump focuses in part on his phone call to Georgia’s secretary of state, asking the secretary to “find” the votes needed to overturn Trump’s election loss, based on false voter-fraud claims.
Willis – a Democrat who in January became the county’s first Black woman district attorney – will have to navigate a fraught political landscape. She faces pressure from Democrats in Atlanta and nationally to pursue an aggressive prosecution, along with scrutiny from Republicans in a state historically dominated by that party.
r the former president and his allies broke the law in their campaign to pressure state officials to reverse his Georgia election loss.
Willis has said that her office would examine potential charges including “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering” among other possible violations.