A former FBI forensic accountant key to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is one of several accountants working on the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into the Trump Organization, people familiar with the matter say.
Morgan Magionos, who was a lynchpin to the prosecution of former President Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is a member of the team of outside experts from FTI Consulting aiding New York prosecutors.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance brought on FTI Consulting last year as part of his office’s wide-ranging investigation into possible insurance fraud, fraud involving lenders, and tax fraud.
Prosecutors often retain experts in accounting, money laundering and tax for complicated financial investigations. Vance’s office has also recruited Mark Pomerantz, a well-respected lawyer who has deep experience in complex white-collar probes.
Representatives for the district attorney declined to comment. A spokesman for FTI and Magionos did not respond to requests for comment.
Trump has called the district attorney’s investigation a “witch hunt.” The Trump Organization this week beefed up its legal team by bringing on criminal-defense attorney Ronald Fischetti, who decades earlier was a law partner with Pomerantz. Fischetti’s hiring was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Magionos, a certified fraud examiner and accountant, spent nine years at the FBI where she worked in its international corruption squad in Washington, DC. She was detailed to the Mueller investigation and traced Manafort’s assets across four countries. Manafort was charged with multiple counts of bank fraud, failing to report foreign bank accounts, and filing false tax returns, among other crimes.
At Manafort’s trial, Magionos testified that she uncovered several foreign bank accounts linked to Manafort and traced $15 million in transfers that Manafort used to fund his personal lifestyle, including an ostrich-skin jacket and landscaping services for his home in the Hamptons. Manafort was convicted on eight counts and later pleaded guilty to other charges. Trump pardoned Manafort earlier this year.
Before joining the FBI, Magionos was a senior auditor at Deloitte. She graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a degree in music in cello performance. Magionos left the FBI in 2019 for FTI.
Manhattan prosecutors are combing through millions of pages of documents, including Trump’s tax returns, which they obtained in February after the US Supreme Court blocked Trump’s attempt to stop a subpoena to his long-time accounting firm.
Prosecutors are looking into whether the Trump Organization misled lenders and insurance companies about the value of properties and paid appropriate taxes. The investigation encompasses Trump Tower, the family estate known as Seven Springs, its Chicago hotel and condo tower, as well as the hush money payments made to silence Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who alleges an affair with Trump. Trump has denied the affair.
Fischetti joins the Trump team where he will work closely with Alan Futerfas, who has represented the Trump Organization since the special counsel investigation.
“I have worked with Ron Fischetti for decades in large and complicated cases and he is simply one of the finest lawyers out there — full stop. We are lucky to have him,” Futerfas told CNN. Futerfas declined to comment on Magionos.
Futerfas and Fischetti in the 1990s represented two individuals charged in an alleged mafia-linked garbage-carting case. Multiple defendants were charged in the case but only their two went to trial, which lasted nine months. Prosecutors had recordings of the defendants, who were convicted.
Fischetti, who worked with Pomerantz for about eight years where they tried at least one case together, said of his former law partner, “He’s a professional and excellent lawyer.”
“There’s a lot of work to do here. I’m really happy to be on board,” Fischetti told CNN.
“It’s going to heat up. They didn’t bring me in to just do subpoenas,” he said.