Grand jury convened to hear evidence in Trump criminal probe, report says

NEW YORK — The district attorney in Manhattan has a convened a grand jury that is expected to decide whether former President Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business should be indicted on criminal charges.

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The Washington Post, quoting two anonymous sources “familiar with the development,” said the panel was recently convened and will sit for three days a week for six months.

Update 9:24 p.m. EDT May 25: In a statement Tuesday evening, Trump called the grand jury seating “a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in American history.”

“This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the presidential election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,” Trump said. “Our country is broken, our elections are rigged, corrupt, and stolen, our prosecutors are politicized, and I will just have to keep on fighting like I have been for the last five years.”

Original report: A spokesman for the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment, the Post and CNN reported. A spokesman for District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. also declined to comment, the Post reported.

The grand jury, convened by Vance Jr., indicated that the probe has reached an advanced stage after more than two years. It also suggests that Vance believes he has found evidence of a crime -- if not by Trump, then by someone potentially close to him or by his company, the Post reported.

Vance’s team is scrutinizing Trump’s business practices before he became president, the newspaper reported. The probe includes whether the value of specific properties in the Trump Organization’s real estate portfolio was manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies, according to the Post.

The district attorney also is examining the compensation provided to top Trump Organization executives, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Trump is facing two state-level investigations of his business practices in New York, the Post reported. Both appear to have begun with the same man: Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer.

The attorney general’s office said last week it was working alongside Vance Jr.’s office in the investigation, The New York Times reported. New York Attorney General Letitia James has been conducting a civil probe, meaning the case could be decided with a lawsuit or fines, the newspaper reported. Vance Jr. has been conducting a criminal investigation.

Vance’s office, as part of its investigation, obtained eight years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns, along with other financial records, the Times reported. The former president fought that effort, and the long-running legal battle reached the Supreme Court twice, the newspaper reported.