Two of President Trump’s adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and White House adviser Ivanka Trump, were very close to being indicted in 2012 on accusations they misled prospective buyers about units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was hurting for buyers.
A ProPublica investigation found that attorneys in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office spent about two years building a case against the two Trump children that included emails showing the Trumps knew they were using inflated figures to attract potential buyers to the condo.
“They knew it was wrong,” one source familiar with the emails told ProPublica. There was “no doubt” that they “approved, knew of, agreed to, and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales,” the source added.
The case disappeared after Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, met with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to ask him to drop the investigation.
Kasowitz, according to the report, offered no new arguments and simply reiterated what Ivanka and Donald Jr.’s lawyers had already said.
Three months after the meeting, Vance overruled his own prosecutors and dropped the case. That same year, Kasowitz donated $25,000 to Vance’s campaign, which Vance said was returned shortly before their meeting.
“I did not at the time believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed,” Vance told ProPublica. “I had to make a call and I made the call, and I think I made the right call.”
A later donation of $50,000, however, occurred less than six months after Vance dropped the case. When confronted with this information, according to ProPublica, Vance pledged to return this donation as well, pledging that it would not be a “millstone” around the neck of his office.
“I don’t want the money to be a millstone around anybody’s neck, including the office’s,” Vance told ProPublica.
In a statement to the news agency, Trump’s lawyer said that the donations were not “quid pro quo” for anything.
“I donated to Cy Vance’s campaign because I was and remain extremely impressed by him as a person of impeccable integrity, as a brilliant lawyer and as a public servant with creative ideas and tremendous ability,” Kasowitz told ProPublica in an email. “I have never made a contribution to anyone’s campaign, including Cy Vance’s, as a ‘quid-pro-quo’ for anything.”