Trump Criminal Probe Accelerates With Hiring Of Financial Investigator


Matthew Colangelo, who has worked on New York state Attorney General Letitia James’s team and at the Justice Department with accumulated experience confronting Trump in court and conducting investigations into entities tied to the former president, is joining Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in his ongoing criminal investigation of Trump.

That investigation is connected to the tax fraud trial of the Trump family business that has been taking place in New York covering accusations of a years-long scheme in which top executives were provided high-dollar benefits without the company itself or recipients and beneficiaries paying required taxes. The scale on which this scheme operated was large. Allen Weisselberg, a longtime executive at the company and ally to Trump who pleaded guilty to over a dozen felonies as part of the case, was ordered to pay nearly $2 million before his sentencing to cover what he owed. He was facing a just months-long sentence in connection to his agreement to cooperate, including with testimony at the company trial.

Bragg’s investigation has experienced some hurdles this year, including with the departure of two high-profile prosecutors after he pushed back on charging Trump himself with questions about the strength of the case, although a lengthy statement issued on the occasion of Weisselberg’s guilty plea included an assertion the underlying criminal investigation into Trump was continuing. It covers financial issues including adjustments to the stated valuations for assets at Trump’s family business, which are also the subject of a civil lawsuit recently filed by James. Colangelo previously worked on the investigation that preceded that case. Bragg’s investigation also covers the hush money scheme prior to the 2020 election targeting women with whom Trump was said to have had affairs, in connection to which Michael Cohen, the longtime Trump fixer, was already charged and sentenced to jail, a stint he’s now completed.

Colangelo “will likely become one of the leaders of the district attorney’s criminal investigation into the former president,” The New York Times said. Bragg said Colangelo “has the sound judgment and integrity needed to pursue justice against powerful people and institutions when they abuse their power” — which certainly sounds like an area of expertise and work that’ll include Trump’s conduct. In his previous New York role, after which he went to the Justice Department, he also helped lead litigation against the Trump administration, including over plans to include a question about respondents’ citizenship on 2020’s census. Colangelo was also involved in investigating the now long defunct charity the Trump Foundation, which was mired in corruption like the usage of funds for personal ambitions by Trump. Colangelo’s professional background also includes a stint at the Labor Department in the Obama era.

Trump also continues facing scrutiny from recently selected Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading two investigations that touch the former president including the inquiry into his harboring of classified documents after leaving the presidency. Smith quickly started participating in court filings, and there has been no general slowdown in the pace of any of these inquiries following his selection.