Mazars accountant Donald Bender’s decision to make a deal with the state of New York and cooperate with the prosecution will have a drastic impact on the charges available to New York prosecutors, according to Trump business biographer, David Cay Johnston, who believes the state of New York is building a racketeering charge against Trump and the three adult children.
David Cay Johnston, who has written several books on the Trump financial empire wrote an article for the New York Daily News this morning, in which he laid out why Mazars’ decision changed everything. First and most importantly, it led to Trump accountant David Bender’s immunity when speaking with the Manhattan grand jury last week. Immunity encourages broad, sweeping, testimony against the target because all immunity can be withdrawn if it appears the witness is holding back. Thus, Johnston believes that the Manhattan grand jury might well have heard stories that go back decades (to show a pattern of behavior) continuing right up through today, with grave consequences. Johnston writes:
I anticipate Trump, the Trump Organization, his three oldest children, Trump’s chief finance man, Allen Weisselberg and perhaps others will be charged with running a racketeering enterprise.
Article 460 of the New York State penal code is modeled on the federal racketeering law. It requires showing three underlying felonies, which should be about as difficult as finding a city crosswalk.
A tax charge or charges will almost certainly be embedded in any state racketeering charge, but tax won’t be a stand-alone criminal charge.
The reason is that while Trump claims to be the greatest tax expert of all time, his lawyers would dismiss that as Trump just puffing up his reputation. Lawyers could say he just did what his advisers told him was right. Expect Bender and witnesses from Mazars to say Trump ordered them to do this and that against their advice.
Obviously, this is why the Mazars’ change in posture means everything because Trump could order whatever he wants, an accountant is not supposed to sign off on documents he knows to be fraudulent. Bender might have “immunity” in testifying, but immunity doesn’t equate to skating free. Bender will likely face serious consequences himself.
Johnston is likely correct in his assessment as to what should or would happen in a regular case. But there are inherent difficulties in charging an ex-president (that there is no road map since it’s never been done, being just one) and Trump has already made it more difficult but reliably screaming it’s a “racist” witch hunt (Letitia James is Black), tampering the jury pool, and making it political.
If one’s goal is to finally hold Trump accountable for his actions, it makes far more sense to find a few very simple criminal acts, ones that are nearly self-proving (perhaps arising out of his deposition) and use the criminal charges along with the civil case to focus primarily upon making Trump pay financially for all the lies and criminal deals he’s made to obtain the assets he controls, which many believe would destroy Trump far more than two years in prison.
Racketeering fits the Trump organized crime pattern but might be more than the prosecutors want to take on at this point. Johnston is certainly right about one thing, the landscape is entirely different and decidedly worse this week than last. Even Trump knows he’s in trouble at a level he’s not seen before.
When has Trump ever been heard to admit he’s going in the wrong direction? We are used to hearing Trump promise to turn someone else’s issue’s around, not his own, and yet:
Trump at his golf club: “We’ll get it turned around. Don’t you worry.” pic.twitter.com/hEb6MeC4i8
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) February 20, 2022
He is worried.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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