Manhattan DA told Trump attorneys they’re considering charges on family business
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has informed Donald Trump’s lawyers that it is considering criminal charges against The Trump Organization, according to a new report.
The charges would be in connection with fringe benefits the company awarded its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, The New York Times reported, citing several people with knowledge of the matter.
The charges could come as soon as next week.
It would be the first criminal charges to emerge from Cyrus Vance’s long-running investigation.
Over the past few weeks, a grand jury has been hearing evidence about Weisselberg, with prosecutors obtaining the executive’s personal tax returns.
It was unclear if Trump’s business would also face charges.
Trump’s lawyers met on Thursday with senior prosecutors in the district attorney’s office in hopes of persuading them to abandon any plan to charge the company, The Times reported.
It’s unclear whether the prosecutors have made a final decision on whether to charge the Trump Organization, which has long denied wrongdoing.
It also is unclear if Trump himself would face criminal charges. Still a probe into his business could affect any attempt by the former president to make a run for office.
Allen Weisselberg (right), the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, could be on the verge of facing charges as prosecutors turn the heat up, hoping he’ll flip on Donald Trump himself (pictured June 5)
Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General running a civil probe, has also reportedly acquired those tax returns.
Earlier, prosecutors were also able to obtain the personal bank records of Weisselberg.
Investigators are looking at whether or not Weisselberg failed to pay taxes on benefits over the years, including apartments, leased cars and private school tuition for one of Weisselberg’s grandchildren.
To that end, prosecutors have subpoenaed records from an Upper West Side private school, the Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School.
Vance is reported to be seeking records into Mercedes-Benz vehicles leased for Weisselberg and other Trump Organization employees.
They are also looking at an apartment Trump may have gifted Weisselberg in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Weisslberg’s former daughter-in-law, Jennifer, has been interviewed in the probe six times and is cooperating with prosecutors.
She has been asked about the tuition payments, as well gifts her ex-husband, Barry Weisselberg, received from Trump, such as leased cars and an apartment on Central Park South.
The nearing of charges is the latest development as the district attorney in Manhattan, Cy Vance, tries to tighten a broader criminal case against Trump and the Trump Organization, which is looking at potential financial misconduct
It’s not clear what charges Weisselberg may be facing, though experts suggest it could be grand larceny, scheme to defraud or tax fraud.
If Weisselberg is charged with tax fraud and failing to pay more than $10,000 in taxes for a single year, he could face up to seven years in prison.
If Weisselberg is charged with scheming to defraud, he could face a maximum of four years in prison.
Prosecutors are hoping Weisselberg will cooperate with the probe into Trump and will flip on the former president.
Weisselberg is still an employee of the Trump Organization, however, suggesting that he probably has not turned star witness against the former president at this point.
Weisselberg previously worked for Donald Trump’s father and has been the chief financial officer at the Trump Organization for more than two decades.