Former federal prosecutor: 'Fair to say' charges in Trump criminal investigation 'are on the horizon'
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Noted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says it is "fair to say" that "charges are on the horizon" in the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation into the Trump Organization, which possibly could include Donald Trump, employees of his business, and/or members of his family.

Mariotti warns that Tuesday's news of Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. impaneling a special grand jury does not mean that anyone will be charged.

"The mere fact that a special grand jury was empaneled does not mean that any particular person will be charged. It does not necessarily mean that Trump himself will be charged," Mariotti said on Twitter.

"But it is fair to say that Vance's investigation is far along and that charges are on the horizon."

Those words echo The Washington Post's reporting, which said the “move indicates that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.'s investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years," and: “It suggests, too, that Vance believes he has found evidence of a crime — if not by Trump then by someone potentially close to him or by his company."

He also says today's news "is the second sign in recent days that Vance's investigation has entered the home stretch. Recently, NY AG Tish James announced that her office would investigate Trump 'along' with the Manhattan DA. This just means that some of her staff are joining the DA's effort."

On the issue of possible fraud, Mariotti says "Fraud is just when you lie to people to get their money. So the case usually comes down to whether the defendant knew the statements in the documents were false."

"It's easier to prove knowledge for people involved in preparing or authorizing the documents, like Weisselberg."

And he cautions on jumping to conclusions, one way or another.