News, Culture & Society

NY Attorney General announces the investigation into Trump Organization is now criminal 

ARRESTED AND INDICTED: STEVE BANNON 

Arrested and indicted on August 20, 2020, Steve Bannon and three others are accused of ripping off donors who wanted to self-fund President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. 

Bannon and his accomplices ‘orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors,’ federal prosecutors alleged. 

Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, joined Trump’s 2016 campaign in August of that year alongside longtime Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway.

He became the campaign’s CEO and pushed Trump to pursue scorched earth tactics like bringing Bill Cilnton’s #MeToo accusers to the second presidential debate to help the campaign weather the fallout from the infamous ‘Access Hollywood’ tape. 

The political aide was named chief strategist and senior counselor when Trump moved into the White House. Bannon only lasted in that position until August 2017. 

GUILTY: ROGER STONE 

Convicted in November 2019 on seven counts including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks. 

Stone’s sentencing was controversial because the Department of Justice pushed for a lighter sentence than what the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office put forward. Trump was publicly complaining about the case. 

In February, Stone was sentenced to 40 months, though never served any jail time, as Trump commuted his sentence in July. Stone had publicly fretted about going to jail during the coronavirus crisis. Stone had been a person of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe long before his January 2019 indictment, thanks in part due to his public pronouncements as well as internal emails about his contacts with WikiLeaks.

In campaign texts and emails, Stone communicated with associates about WikiLeaks following reports the organization had obtained a cache of Clinton-related emails. According to the federal indictment, Stone gave ‘false and misleading’ testimony about his requests for information from WikiLeaks. He then pressured a witness, comedian Randy Credico, to take the Fifth Amendment rather than testify, and pressured him in a series of emails. 

Following a prolonged dispute over testimony, he called him a ‘rat’ and threatened to ‘take that dog away from you’, in reference to Credico’s therapy dog, Bianca. Stone warned him: ‘Let’s get it on. Prepare to die.’ 

GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN

 In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. The admission was part of a plea bargain etched out with Mueller investigators. 

Flynn’s sentencing was then delayed several times. 

The Justice Department, under Attorney General Bill Barr, filed a motion to dismiss the Flynn case in May, but a U.S. district judge ordered a hold. The matter is still currently held up in court. 

Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor . He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired. 

GUILTY: MICHAEL COHEN

Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. 

Pleaded guilty to further count of lying to Congress in November 2018. He was sentenced to three years in prison and $2 million in fines and forfeitures in December 2018. 

He was released from prison and into home confinement in July due to the coronavirus pandemic.Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. 

Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump. 

He also admitted to tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.And he admitted that he lied to Congress, in a rare use of that offense. 

The judge in his case let him report for prison on March 6 and recommended he serve it in a medium-security facility close to New York City. 

Campaign role: Paul Manafort chaired Trump's campaign for four months - which included the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016, where he appeared on stage beside Trump who was preparing  to formally accept the Republican nomination

GUILTY: PAUL MANAFORT

Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Sentenced to 47 months in March 2019. Pleaded guilty to two further charges – witness tampering and conspiracy against the United States.

Manafort was supposed to be jailed for seven and a half years, but, like Cohen, was released in May due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Manafort worked for Trump’s 2016 bid for the White House starting in March 2016 and served as campaign chairman from June to August 2016, helping the now-president amass the needed delegates to win the nomination at the the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. 

Manafort was a well known D.C. lobbyist, but in 2015 he needed more funds and offered to work for Trump for free in order to bank new clients afterward. 

The Mueller team unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts in August 2018. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. 

A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent due in September did not happen when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and witness tampering in a plea bargain.

Minutes after his second sentencing hearing in March 2019, he was indicted on 16 counts of fraud and conspiracy by the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., using evidence which included documents previously presented at his first federal trial. The president has no pardon power over charges by district and state attorneys. 

GUILTY: RICK GATES

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. 

Gates, a Trump campaign official, was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of Congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.

Gates was sentenced to three years of probation and 45 days in jail. In April, a judge ruled that he didn’t have to report to jail during the coronavirus pandemic. 

GUILTY AND JAILED: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Sentenced to 14 days in September 2018 and reported to prison in November. Papadopolous served 12 days and was released on December 7, 2018. 

Papadopoulos was a member of Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to Mueller investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank. 

He agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation but has criticized it since. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk