Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. reportedly is under investigation by the FBI over high-profile cases that were dropped after lawyers made significant donations, according to the New York Daily News.
> Investigators have been quietly seeking information in recent months about decision-making by DA Cy Vance Jr. and his staff, sources with knowledge of the undertaking said.
> The queries are centered on how things are handled in the office and who the major players are, the sources said. The FBI interest grew out of revelations that investigations were closed once lawyers representing the bigwig suspects made hefty donations to Vance’s campaign coffers, sources said.
> The team has asked about current and former high-level staff members and their relationships to private law firms and outside agencies, sources said. Investigators are considering whether undue influence was at play.
In two noteworthy situations, Vance declined to pursue charges against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and in another case, two of President Donald Trump’s children.
> Manhattan’s top prosecutor came under fire last year after questions surfaced about his office’s 2015 decision not to go after ex-Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after model Ambra Battilana accused him of groping her breasts in his Tribeca office.
> A lawyer hired by Weinstein at the time had given Vance $24,000 and another attorney sent him $10,000 after the decision to spare the powerful producer an arrest.
> Vance’s office cleared daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr., who were being looked at for allegedly defrauding Trump SoHo investors and would-be buyers by lying about the number of condos that had been sold.
> In 2012, Vance met with an attorney for the pair, Marc Kasowitz, who had previously given him $25,000. An additional $32,000 was donated after the office declined to prosecute Ivanka and Trump Jr.
Vance returned Kasowitz’s first donation before their meeting, and then also returned the second installment after facing criticism for taking the money and failing to bring charges.
> Vance spokesman Danny Frost on Tuesday said the office hadn’t been told of any scrutiny from the FBI.
> “We are not aware of any inquiry,” he told The News.