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Trump Organization could face criminal charges as soon as next week




  • In Business
  • 2021-06-25 20:24:00Z
  • By NY Daily News
 

NEW YORK - Donald Trump's name could appear on a criminal indictment as soon as next week.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office has informed the former president's lawyers that they are weighing a criminal indictment against the Trump Organization related to untaxed perks paid to the company's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, and other top executives.

Trump's attorney Ron Fischetti told the Daily News he met with prosecutors from District Attorney Cy Vance's office virtually Thursday and that an indictment against the Trump Organization appears imminent.

"The DA listened to us, but obviously we didn't persuade them," Fischetti said. "They're doing this just to hurt Donald Trump himself. There are no charges against him at all in this."

Fischetti said the Trump Organization will plead not guilty to the charges and file a motion to dismiss the indictment.

"In my more than 50 years of practice, never before have I seen the District Attorney's Office target a company over employee compensation or fringe benefits," Fischetti said. "The IRS would not, and has not, brought a case like this. Even the financial institutions responsible for causing the 2008 financial crises, the worst financial crisis since the great depression, were not prosecuted."

Weisselberg has been CFO of Trump's family business for decades. He started as a bookkeeper for Donald's father, Fred, in the early 1970s.

The tight-lipped custodian of the Trump Organization finances, described by Trump in 2004 as a guy who "knows how to get things done," Weisselberg has been a subject in Vance's investigation for several months.

Prosecutors have reportedly been looking into lavish fringe benefits Weisselberg received during his tenure with the company, some of which investigators know about through his former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg, who recently divorced Allen's son, Barry.

Deposition testimony from their divorce, which The News reported in April, showed that Allen paid for virtually every aspect of the couple's lives. That included a rent-free apartment overlooking Central Park and their children's education, to the tune of $49,000 a year tuition for the elite Columbia Grammar and Prep and $2,200 for Hebrew school, legal papers detail.

Weisselberg also shelled out $25,000 for his grandchildren's annual sleepaway camp, documents show.

During the 2017 deposition, Barry said there was never an expectation to pay his father back, describing the largess as "financial assistance."

A grand jury has been hearing evidence in Vance's long-running inquiry into Trump's business dealings for several months. Chief executives, like the Trump Organization's longtime controller, Jeffrey McConney, have been called to testify.

It was not clear whether the possibly incoming indictment against the Trump Organization, could mark the end of the road of Vance's investigation into the former president.

Fischetti said that although the latest development does not signal Trump will be personally charged, the news hit him right where it hurts.

"He's not happy," Fischetti said. "He understands it. He's been saying this is a witch hunt all along, and this is just further evidence."

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