Eight sources with direct knowledge of the investigation told The Daily Beast the sprawling case remains active as federal prosecutors led by Roger Handberg questioned witnesses tied to former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, who has been cooperating with prosecutors after pleading guilty to six charges, including sex trafficking of a child, wire fraud and conspiracy.
“[Handberg’s] methodical, he doesn’t let anything go,” Lyle Mazin, a criminal defense attorney representing one of the witnesses. “If you’re going after a monster, you have to get it right — especially when you have a bunch of Trump supporters who’ll come after you.”
None of the sources believed the Gaetz investigation was closed, but attorneys for witnesses and subjects of the probe said they expect to hear from prosecutors again despite some recent silence, and a lawyer for one individual already charged in the case said prosecutors seemed to be on a tight timeline.
“They only strike when the case is tightly built, unfortunately,” that lawyer said.
Two prosecutors from the Department of Justice, Todd Gee and Lauren Britsch, have led the Gaetz investigation, according to sources who interacted with them, while federal prosecutors from Orlando — Handberg, Jennifer Harrington and Amanda Daniels — are leading the charge for local elements of the sprawling crime ring.
“We know for a fact that there are dozens of other actors who were involved in drug-fueled sex parties with underage girls and other criminal financial schemes,” said David Bear, an Orlando attorney who has advised several Greenberg accusers. “If at the end of the day only two or three people are held to account by the feds, that would be a real miscarriage of justice and transparency.”
Some witnesses or potential targets in the sex trafficking case say they haven’t heard from prosecutors in months, saying it’s the “most quiet” the case has ever been, but three sources told The Daily Beast the case has recently focused on an alleged public corruption scheme to influence marijuana policy in Tallahassee, which reportedly involves Gaetz.
Two attorneys said prosecutors are taking extreme caution to avoid the appearance of interfering in the midterm elections, with any announcements involving Gaetz likely to come several weeks after the November election, at the earliest, and his GOP primary challenger said an indictment could have saved him millions of dollars in his ill-fated bid to unseat the scandal-plagued congressman.
“If you’re asking me whether I’m frustrated, of course I am,” said Mark Lombardo, who said the investigation played a role in his decision to enter the primary in June. “I thought he’d be long gone… the wheels of justice don’t grind very fast.”
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Trump Goes on Wild Rant Targeting Judge and Attorney General After Being Found Liable for Fraud
Donald Trump unleashed a wild rant Wednesday morning, targeting the New York attorney general and the Manhattan Supreme Court judge in the State of New York’s $250 million civil case against him. The judge on Tuesday declared the ex-president had committed fraud for years in building his real estate empire and ordered his business certificates revoked and holdings dissolved.
Trump has been warned to not make public attacks against or attempts to intimidate witnesses or officers of the court, or prejudice jurors in one of the criminal cases he is currently facing. Two weeks ago, after appearing to not heed those warnings, the Special Counsel prosecuting the ex-president for his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election asked the judge presiding over that case to limit his speech.
Wednesday morning, Trump called New York Attorney General Letitia James “Racist.” He called Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “Deranged,” and “Trump Hating,” alleging he had “made up this crazy ‘KILL TRUMP’ decision, assigning insanely low values to properties.” Trump wrote the judge valued his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence at $18 million, and claimed (in all-caps) “it is worth possibly 100 times that amount.”
The judge, however, according to The Hill, “found Trump consistently overvalued Mar-a-Lago, inflating its value on one financial statement by at least 2,300 percent. The ruling pointed to a Palm Beach County Assessor’s appraisal from 2011-2021, which estimated Mar-a-Lago’s value between $18 million and $27.6 million.”
“In his order,” The New York Times reported Tuesday, “Justice Engoron wrote scathingly about Mr. Trump’s defenses, saying that the former president and the other defendants, including his two adult sons and his company, ignored reality when it suited their business needs. ‘In defendants’ world,’ he wrote, ‘rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air.'”
“That is a fantasy world, not the real world,” the judge concluded.
At the end of his diatribe Wednesday, Trump declared: “There is also an IRONCLAD DISCLAIMER CLAUSE!”
Trump Organization Given ‘Corporate Death Penalty’ and Ordered Dissolved by Judge After ‘Persistent Fraud’: Legal Experts
A New York judge has ordered Donald Trump’s business entities in the state of New York, including The Trump Organization, dissolved, and his business certificates canceled, according to legal experts, after ruling that the ex-president for years committed fraud and deceived banks and insurers by inflating the value of his assets.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “has ordered cancellation of all [NYS] business [certificates] of ‘any entity controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr, Eric Trump, Alan Weisselberg, & Jeffrey McConney. An independent receiver will manage the dissolutions,” writes former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega.
Correct, @AndrewFeinberg. The judge has ordered cancellation of all [NYS] business certs of “any entity controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr, Eric Trump, Alan Weisselberg, & Jeffrey McConney. An independent receiver will manage the dissolutions. https://t.co/mK0vkzQXon
— Elizabeth de la Vega (@Delavegalaw) September 26, 2023
The Messenger reports Judge Engoron’s “blockbuster ruling found that the former president and his business leaders failed to correct course after warned of a ‘propensity to engage in persistent fraud,'” and ordered “a quick timeline to dissolve the Trump Organization and other corporate entities.”
MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin explains that the “New York trial court judge has found that Trump, his adult sons, and Allen Weisselberg engaged in a persistent, years-long fraud through ‘fantasy world’ valuations of core Trump assets, including his own residence and various golf courses and office buildings.”
“His decision not only eliminates the need for trial on that claim, but also orders fairly dramatic relief: the cancellation of New York business certificates for all of the entities named as defendants, ‘as well as any other entity controlled or beneficially owned by the individual defendants found liable,'” she adds.
“In addition to finding that Trump committed fraud, the judge canceled the certificates of various Trump businesses, appointed a former judge as an independent monitor of the Trump Organization, and will appoint receivers to manage the canceled LLCs,” writes former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.
“This is a pretty big deal,” he adds.
Professor of law Ryan Goodman, the former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel says Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered the “corporate death penalty” for the Trump organization. Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance also used the term “corporate death penalty.”
“The leading Republican candidate has been found liable for sexual assault and fraud, his companies found guilty of fraud, and he’s charged with 91 OTHER felony counts. That he is not dismissed politically out of hand says much more about us, than about him,” observes MSNBC’s Andrew Weissmann, the well-known former lead prosecutor in Robert S. Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office and former FBI General Counsel.
Attorney, retired U.S. Air Force colonel, and former administrative law judge Moe Davis responding to the news, writes: “Trump is the eponymous fraudster. The name Trump is to fraud what Campell’s is to soup, Kleenex is to tissue, and ping is to pong.”
Trump Committed Fraud and Deceived Banks While Growing His Real Estate Empire, Judge Says: Report
Donald Trump committed fraud, deceived banks, and inflated the value of his real estate holdings a judge said Tuesday, granting New York Attorney General Letitia James partial summary judgment in her civil case against the ex-president.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “has ruled that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House,” The Associated Press reports. Judge Engoron “found that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.”
“The decision, days before the start of a non-jury trial in Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, is the strongest repudiation yet of Trump’s carefully coiffed image as a wealthy and shrewd real estate mogul turned political powerhouse,” The AP adds.
Attorney General James “is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York, his home state. The trial could last into December, Engoron has said.”
READ MORE: McCarthy Now Blaming Likely Shutdown on Fentanyl, President Biden, and His Own House Republicans
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