OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is expected to bring charges against the Trump Organization and its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.
Both are expected to be charged with alleged tax crimes on Thursday and Weisselberg and other employees of the trump organization could appear in court on that day, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The charges against the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, the company’s longtime chief financial officer, are a blow to former President Donald Trump, who has fended off multiple criminal and civil probes during and after his presidency. Mr. Trump himself isn’t expected to be charged, his lawyer said. Mr. Weisselberg has rejected prosecutors’ attempts at gaining his cooperation, according to people familiar with the matter.
The defendants are expected to appear in court on Thursday afternoon, the people said.
The Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg are expected to face charges related to allegedly evading taxes on fringe benefits, the people said. For months, the Manhattan district attorney’s office and New York state attorney general’s office have been investigating whether Mr. Weisselberg and other employees illegally avoided paying taxes on perks—such as cars, apartments and private-school tuition—that they received from the Trump Organization.
But the important thing to note here is that this appears to be a very minor case and it has been indicated that there are going to be no charges against Donald Trump.
A personal attorney for The Trump Organization has indicated that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance will not be filing criminal charges against the organization in regards to allegations of “hush money” payments and real estate value manipulations, Politico reported.
Ronald Fischetti, a New York attorney who represents the former president, said on Monday that in a meeting last week, he asked Vance’s team for details on charges they were considering.
According to Fischetti, members of Vance’s team said they were considering bringing charges against the Trump Organization and its individual employees related to alleged failures to pay taxes on corporate benefits and perks. It has been widely reported that those perks included cars and apartments and appear to only involve a small number of executives.
“We asked, ‘Is there anything else?’” he said to POLITICO. “They said, ‘No.’”
“It’s crazy that that’s all they had,” he said.
Politico asked if prosecutors talked about allegations made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and porn star star and director Stormy Daniels, the attorney said “Nothing. Not a word on that.”
The attorney also said that there will be no charges against Donald Trump himself when the indictments happen.
“They just said, ‘When this indictment comes down, he won’t be charged. Our investigation is ongoing,’” Fischeti said.
“It’s like the Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing,” he said. “This is so small that I can’t believe I’m going to have to try a case like this.”
This came after a weekend where it was indicated that charges were forthcoming against the organization.
The case involves fringe benefits that were given to a top executive at The Trump Organization, The New York Times reported.
If the case moves ahead, the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., could announce charges against the Trump Organization and the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, as soon as next week, the people said.
The criminal charges would be the first to emerge from Mr. Vance’s long-running investigation into Mr. Trump and his business dealings, and raise the startling prospect of a former president having to defend the company he founded and has run for decades.
While the prosecutors had been building a case for months against Mr. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, as part of an effort to pressure him to cooperate with the inquiry, it was not previously known that the company also might face charges.
Prosecutors recently have focused much of their investigation into the perks Mr. Trump and the company doled out to Mr. Weisselberg and other executives, including tens of thousands of dollars in private school tuition for one of Mr. Weisselberg’s grandchildren, as well as rents on apartments and car leases.
Prosecutors are looking into whether those benefits were properly recorded in the company’s ledgers and whether taxes were paid on them, The New York Times has reported.