Dershowitz: Prosecutors May Now Be Able to 'Squeeze' Russian Lawyer on Trump Tower Meeting
Natalia Veselnitskaya charged with obstruction of justice.
Legal scholar Alan Dershowitz said Tuesday on "America's Newsroom" that prosecutors may now be able to "squeeze" Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya for information on the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
Veselnitskaya was charged in New York federal court with obstruction of justice in connection to a civil money laundering and forfeiture case involving a Russian tax refund fraud scheme.
Veselnitskaya represented Cyprus-based real estate holdings company Prevezon Holdings, in a money laundering lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. In the case, the government sought to prove that Veselnitskaya’s clients had received and laundered a portion of the proceeds of a Russian tax refund fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials.
Federal prosecutors in New York’s Southern District said on Tuesday that Veselnitskaya submitted to the court an “intentionally misleading declaration in opposition to a government motion.”
The motion, according to SDNY, presented “supposed investigative findings by the Russian government—findings purportedly exonerating Veselnitskaya’s clients – under the false pretense that these findings had been independently drafted by the Russian government.”
Veselnitskaya was present at a controversial meeting inside Trump Tower in 2016, along with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, in which damaging information on then-candidate Hillary Clinton is alleged to have been discussed.
Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus, explained that it's rare for a U.S. Attorney's Office to bring an indictment based on a misleading affidavit submitted in a civil case. He said the indictment raises questions about "selective prosecution," but the case itself "seems solid."
"They may now have her in a position where they can squeeze her, get her to sing and testify regarding the meeting. That puts the pressure on her," he said.
"The evidentiary basis for the case seems strong, but the question is: is this a case that would have been brought had she not been a Russian who attended the meeting at Trump Tower?"
Watch the full analysis above.