A veteran criminal trial attorney told MSNBC the publicly available evidence strongly suggested the Trump Foundation would soon fall under criminal investigation.
The charitable foundation set up and operated by President Donald Trump and his children was ordered Tuesday to dissolve under court supervision, and former New Jersey prosecutor Robert Bianchi said criminal prosecution seemed inevitable.
“It is going to become a criminal matter, I’ve been saying this for a long time,” said Bianchi, a defense attorney and former Morris County prosecutor.
Bianchi said Barbara Underwood, New York’s attorney general, sent a strong signal that the lawsuit that forced the dissolution of the Trump Foundation had also uncovered criminal wrongdoing.
“What she wrote in her press release yesterday talking about all of the improprieties, using it as a personal checkbook, is code word in criminal language for tax evasion, campaign finance violations, as well as fraud,” Bianchi said.
He said the president should have known that holding public office would heighten scrutiny of his business and personal conduct.
“The spotlight is going to be on you by law enforcement and other people that bring improprieties in your business dealings,” Bianchi said. “The commingling of personal funds and charitable contributions is always known to be investigated in a criminal way.”
The Trump Foundation board, comprised mostly of the president and his children, had not met since 1999, and he said their activities would be of great interest to prosecutors.
“Him and his children, it is nothing less than what (Underwood) indicated, a slush fund,” Bianchi said. “When I read that press release, as a prosecutor who made many press releases myself, right now she’s talking civil, but you can turn those words to fraud, tax evasion, campaign finance violations.”
“(Underwood) said she’s going to pursue him, she said this is going to open up a criminal investigation,” he added. “I think they’ve got a lot of evidence.”