MSNBC contributor Frank Figliuzzi said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Deadline” that former President Donald Trump, his children, including Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., and Trump Organization’s chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg might go to prison as a result of the New York attorney general’s investigation into the Trump Organization.
Figliuzzi said, “I think Trump has misjudged his exposure here. There’s hubris here, and there’s just bad gambling luck. So, with folks like Manafort, Stone, he believed that he could control them. That they were disloyal enough that he didn’t trust them and needed to dangle the pardons — that he needed the pardons and commutations. I think he misjudged Weisselberg and others. I think he thought he was Teflon. This wouldn’t happen. He was emboldened by Mueller not going after his finances and I think he’s misplayed this.”
Referencing New York Attorney General Letitia James, Figliuzzi said, “When you’re talking about the former president of the United States, it means it takes something more than the bare minimum threshold of reasonable suspicion that a crime occurred. I don’t think she would make this announcement lightly or merely reasonable suspicion. I think she has strong evidence, specific facts that she is very confident in.”
On James coordination with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., Figliuzzi said, “You need to coordinate the intelligence, and if the same people are exposed, you have to figure out who’s going after Trump personally…Who’s going after the organization? Make no mistake. Because it’s an organizational prosecution doesn’t mean human beings in that organization can’t go to prison as part of that case. In fact, as part of most white-collar crime cases against corporations, there’s a heated discussion often between agents and prosecutors about whether or not someone deserved to go to prison and what do they look at for that? Are there things in place to have prevented this? Is this a one-off? Is there more systemic fraud? Is there evidence of intent? My message to the Trump family, who are officers, if you don’t have separate lawyers representing you on the organization case, do not trust that one organization attorney, who represents the organization’s interests, to represent your interest. It is time to separately lawyer up and realize you may have different interests than a brother, sister, or father.”
Host Nicolle Wallace said, “Is the Enron prosecution is an example of a corporation prosecuted, but individuals went to jail? Is that the kind of investigation they could be imagining?”
Figliuzzi said, “Yeah, absolutely. In the majority of big corporate white-collar cases, there’s a fine levied. The corporations try to get it right. They slipped up. There was low-level people who screwed up even intentionally. You don’t see CEOs and officers go to prison.”
He added, “In a case like this, if they can show systemic fraud, knowledge, intent, no fiduciary responsibility mechanisms in place, just no one really caring if things get done right, if the intent goes to the top, you will see people go to prison.”
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