Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance accepted a $10,000 campaign donation from the head of Donald Trump’s law firm, after which he dropped a case against Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., IBT reports.
Elkan Abramowitz, the head of a law firm defending the Trump Organization, made the donation in March 2011, during a fraud investigation into the Trump siblings and others related to the construction of the ill-fated Trump Soho project. The investigation spanned from 2010 to 2012. Ultimately, Vance overruled his prosecutors and declined to file charges against the Trumps.
Also during the Trump Soho investigation — in which the Trumps were charged with misleading investors about the finances of the project — Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz donated $25,000 to Vance. Vance later returned the money. Representatives of the DA’s office said that was standard procedure when a donor has a case before the office. But IBT found no record that Vance returned the $10,000 donation from Abramowitz.
IBT reported Abramowitz recently served as criminal defense attorney for Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a federal corruption probe launched by former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. But the governor’s office reached out to Metro to say that Abramowitz represented the executive chamber, not the governor himself, who did not have a personal defense attorney in that matter.
Joan Vollero, communications director for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, said the office didn’t consider Abramowitz’s donation a conflict of interest because he didn’t personally represent anyone before the DA’s office at the time. She said the DA’s campaign finance vetting committee didn’t consider the fact that Abramowitz was the head of a firm representing the Trump Organization to be a conflict.
This is the fourth disclosure in a week that Vance accepted campaign donations from law firms representing clients with cases before the DA’s office. IBT previously reported that Vance declined to prosecute Harvey Weinstein after receiving $182,000 from the firm of Weinstein’s longtime attorneys.