Grand jury convened to consider criminal charges against Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan Credit James Devaney

NY prosecutors have reportedly convened a special grand jury to consider evidence in a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump's business dealings.

Initially, Vance investigated the money received by two women who allegedly had extramarital affairs with Trump prior to the 2016 presidential campaign and damaged business documents.

The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that sources say Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance empaneled the grand jury recently, and they "will sit three days a week for six months".

A spokesman for Mr Trump and an attorney for the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment. It will also look into the donations the Trump empire has made to evade tax.

In reaction to the press, Trump issued a statement calling the prosecutor's actions "a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history".

"After prosecutorial efforts the likes of which nobody has ever seen before, they failed to stop me in Washington, so they turned it over to NY to do their dirty work", Trump said in his statement, adding: "If these prosecutors focused on real issues, crime would be obliterated, and NY would be great and free again!"

Democrat James said her office is also continuing a civil investigation into Trump.

Vance declined to run for reelection and will leave office at the end of the year, meaning the Trump case is likely to pass to his successor in some form. An election next month is all but certain to determine who that will be.

Mr Trump is also facing a separate criminal investigation from the New York Attorney-General's office.

"No other President in history has had to put up with what I have had to", raged Trump, who described the investigations as "purely political, and an affront to the nearly 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it's being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors".

According to several media, Vance's team has been looking closely at the Trump Organisation's long-serving chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, one of the family's most loyal servants. Last week, he released a 909-word statement skewering Vance and the state's attorney general, Tish James, and accusing them of political persecution. His former daughter-in-law, Jen Weisserberg, is cooperating with both inquiries.

Allen Weisserberg was summoned in a James civil investigation and witnessed twice a year ago. His lawyer declined to comment when asked Tuesday if he had been subpoenaed to testify before the new grand jury.

1st case of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine related death confirmed in Ontario
EU imposes sanctions on Belarus over 'hijacked' Ryanair flight