The last time the People of the State of New York took the Trump Organization to court, it was in the Trump University case filed in 2013, a civil prosecution I helped lead. Our case featured testimony from Trump University’s executives, to be sure — plus the often-heart-rending stories of dozens of defrauded victims — but at its core, our case was built on a foundation of documents. In our initial filings alone, we attached multiple boxes’ worth of exhibits, most importantly, the transcripts of Trump University “seminars,” as well as the playbook used by its “instructors,” financial and human resources records and a large number of internal emails, including from people who are now household names, like Weisselberg, Jeff McConney and Michael Cohen.
In the current case, there is a veritable feast of documents likely to be available. Emails are only the most obvious example, but we also know from Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, that the Trump team frequently kept recorded meetings; there could be audio files (like the now-famous one Cohen recorded regarding hush money for Stormy Daniels) or transcripts or both. Business teleconferences are frequently recorded and archived. If any attendees of a meeting kept notes at the time, and that time can be proved — via the metadata showing the time a file was created, for example — then those notes can potentially be admissible as evidence.
Spreadsheets and other ledgers are especially important here: If prosecutors can show that one set of real numbers existed and that a second set was then created, shared and approved, it may be corroborating evidence of intentional fraud.