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Trump Organization lawyers tell NY prosecutors indicting ex-president’s firm could destroy business


Attorneys representing Donald Trump‘s family business are attempting to convince  prosecutors not to file criminal charges against the company, and told them that doing so could damage the firm’s reputation beyond repair.

Lawyers met with Manhattan prosecutors on Monday in a last ditch attempt to dissuade them from filing charges against the Trump Organization.

During the meeting, senior officials with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Attorney General’s Office both met with Trump defense lawyers who highlighted the damage the company could face, should an indictment occur.

The two prosecutors’ offices – now working together in their probe against Trump – did not indicate whether they’d decided to press any charges.  

But the collateral damage from any such allegations could spread far and wide, affecting relationships with banks and other business partners, Trump Organization lawyers are purported to have said.

Charges against the Trump Organization could come later this week

Donald Trump won't be personally charged in the Manhattan district attorney's case against the former president's business organization

Donald Trump won’t be personally charged in the Manhattan district attorney’s case against the former president’s business organization

The meeting to discuss ‘collateral consequences’ are routine in white-collar investigations when charges are near, according to the New York Times.

The meeting, conducted through video conferencing, lasted for less than an hour.

The prosecutors have not stated one way or the other if they have made a final decision on whether to bring charges against the Trump Organization which has long denied any wrongdoing, as has its long-serving chief financial officer Allen H. Weisselberg.

District attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., could well announce charges against the company and Weisselberg later this week.  Weisselberg is said to have refused to flip and turn on Trump in return for easier treatment from investigators. 

Donald Trump won’t be personally charged in the Manhattan district attorney’s case against the former president’s business organization when the first indictment comes down, his attorney claimed earlier in the day. 

In a lengthy and rambling statement issued on Monday, Trump called the DA’s investigation ‘a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time’ and claimed prosecutors ‘failed’ to find a crime even as ‘millions of dollars of taxpayer funds wasted.’ 

Charges are likely in connection with fringe benefits the company awarded its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg who prosecutors were hoping might flip

Charges are likely in connection with fringe benefits the company awarded its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg who prosecutors were hoping might flip

His words came as an indictment against the business that made his fame and fortune, The Trump Organization, grows closer.  

Ronald Fischetti, a New York attorney who represents Trump, told Politico that, at a meeting with Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance on Monday, he was told the DA’s office will not bring charges against Trump himself when the first indictment arrives, which could be as soon as this week.

‘They just said, ‘When this indictment comes down, he won’t be charged. Our investigation is ongoing,’ he said.

Trump railed against the prosecution in his response. 

‘They will do anything to stop the MAGA movement (and me),’ the former president said. ‘They also know that no matter how strong our case, they will work hard to embarrass us and the Republican Party.’

He claimed the prosecution of his business organization meant other companies would see it as a reason not to station their businesses in New York.

The former president called the DA’s investigation ‘a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time,’ in a lengthy, rambling statement 

‘Having politically motivated prosecutors, people who actually got elected because they will “get Donald Trump,” is a very dangerous thing for our Country. In the end, people will not stand for it. Remember, if they can do this to me, they can do it to anyone! Why would anyone bring their company to New York, or even stay in New York, knowing these Radical Left Democrats would willingly target their company if viewed as a political opponent? It is devastating for New York!,’ Trump said. 

He also claimed to be the victim after he saved the country from COVID.  

‘These Witch Hunters are relentlessly seeking to destroy a reputation of a President who has done a great job for this Country, including tax and regulation cuts, Border control, rebuilding the Military, and developing the vaccine in record time – thereby saving our Country, and far beyond. Washington, D.C. and ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court, should finally stop these vicious, angry, and highly partisan prosecutors. They are a disgrace to our Nation!,’ he concluded.  

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been conducting a long-running investigation into Donald Trump's businesses

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been conducting a long-running investigation into Donald Trump’s businesses

Meanwhile, Fischetti said he was told the charges against the Trump Organization and its individual employees related to alleged failures to pay taxes on corporate benefits and perks. 

Those are believed to include up to $500,000 in school fees paid for Weisselberg’s two grandchildren to attend Columbia Grammar and Prep School in Manhattan.

That cash is said to have been paid by both Weisselberg and Trump, as a gift to Weisselberg’s son Barry, whose kids were attending the facility.

Prosecutors are believed to be probing whether those gifts should have been declared as such, which would have made them eligible for tax payments.  

Charges will likely not be related to so-called ‘hush money’ payments that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen said were made to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

‘Nothing. Not a word on that,’ he said. 

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in October 2016, a month before the election, to stop her discussing the alleged affair with Trump, which Trump denied having. The New  York Times reported that, in court documents, Cohen said Trump Organization officials were involved in the payoff. Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges on August 21, 2018, including a campaign finance violation, for his role in the payment. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James said she was assigning two of her lawyers to work with Vance on the criminal probe while she continues a civil investigation of Trump

New York Attorney General Letitia James said she was assigning two of her lawyers to work with Vance on the criminal probe while she continues a civil investigation of Trump

Nor would the charges be related to concerns The Trump Organization used misleading valuations of its properties to deceive lenders, it is claimed. 

‘We asked, ‘Is there anything else?’ Fischetti told Politico. ‘They said, ‘No.’

‘It’s crazy that that’s all they had,’ he added.

'They just said, 'When this indictment comes down, he won't be charged,' Ronald Fischetti, a New York attorney who represents Trump, told Politico

‘They just said, ‘When this indictment comes down, he won’t be charged,’ Ronald Fischetti, a New York attorney who represents Trump, told Politico

He noted he expects charges to be filed against the company this week or next.  

Prosecutors gave Trump’s attorneys a Monday afternoon to make their final case as to why the Trump Organization should not face criminal charges over its financial dealings, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.   

The charges would be the first criminal allegations to emerge from Vance’s long-running investigation into Trump’s business work in New York.

Over the past few weeks, a grand jury has been hearing evidence about Weisselberg, with prosecutors obtaining the executive’s personal tax returns. Companies can be tried for crimes, and if they are convicted or plead guilty, they would face fines and other penalties. 

Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General running a civil probe, has also reportedly acquired those tax returns. James’ office had been investigating whether Trump’s company falsely reported property values to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.

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 two 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. 

Trump's company, The Trump Organization, likely to face charges on alleged failures to pay taxes on corporate benefits and perks; charges would not be related to so-called 'hush money' payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels

Trump’s company, The Trump Organization, likely to face charges on alleged failures to pay taxes on corporate benefits and perks; charges would not be related to so-called ‘hush money’ payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels

Meanwhile, Weisslberg’s former daughter-in-law, Jennifer, has been interviewed in the probe six times and is cooperating with prosecutors.

The Manhattan district attorney's office has informed Donald Trump 's lawyers that it is considering criminal charges against The Trump Organization in connection with benefits the company awarded its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has informed Donald Trump ‘s lawyers that it is considering criminal charges against The Trump Organization in connection with benefits the company awarded its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg 

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. 

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. 

Prosecutors are hoping Weisselberg will cooperate with the probe into Trump and will flip on the former president. The indictments could put additional pressure on him to cut a deal. 

The issue took on a renewed sense of urgency when Vance said in April that he will retire at the end of 2021 and there is speculation his office will issue any indictments before that. 

Weisselberg is still an employee of the Trump Organization. He previously worked for Donald Trump’s father and has been the chief financial officer at the Trump Organization for more than two decades, and has denied all claims of wrongdoing. 

Who’s who in New York criminal probe into Trump 

New York state has opened a criminal investigation into former US president Donald Trump (pictured November 2020)

New York state has opened a criminal investigation into former US president Donald Trump (pictured November 2020)

A Democratic prosecutor nearing the end of his term, a loyal lieutenant of the Trump family and a lawyer determined to sink his former boss: AFP details some of the players in New York’s criminal probe into Donald Trump.

Cyrus Vance

The 66-year-old Democrat has been Manhattan District Attorney since 2010. He was the first to launch a criminal investigation into the Republican ex-president.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (pictured May 2020) has doggedly pursued Donald Trump, winning a years-long battle to obtain his tax records and deploying significant human and financial resources to the politically sensitive investigation

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (pictured May 2020) has doggedly pursued Donald Trump, winning a years-long battle to obtain his tax records and deploying significant human and financial resources to the politically sensitive investigation

Vance, whose father was US Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter, has sometimes been accused of a reluctance to prosecute the rich and powerful.

He delayed filing charges against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein before securing a landmark conviction last year.

Vance has doggedly pursued Trump, though, first by winning a years-long battle to obtain his tax records and secondly by deploying significant human and financial resources to the politically sensitive investigation.

He has announced that he will not run for a fourth term when his current one expires in December, and many observers expect him to go out with a bang by filing what would be the first indictment against a former US president.

Letitia James

The Democrat became the first Black woman to become New York state attorney general in 2018.

Since then, the 62-year-old has forged a reputation as a combative and independent prosecutor, filing countless civil actions against large companies, particularly tech giants, and the National Rifle Association (NRA).

In addition to Donald Trump, Letitia James (pictured August 2020) is also investigating New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations and his response to the coronavirus pandemic

In addition to Donald Trump, Letitia James (pictured August 2020) is also investigating New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations and his response to the coronavirus pandemic

When Trump was in the White House, James launched dozens of civil actions against his government.

She is also investigating New York’s powerful Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations and his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

James has been cited as a possible successor to Cuomo, particularly if her investigation forces him to resign.

Allen Weisselberg

The 73-year-old is the Trump Organization’s long-serving chief financial officer and one of the family’s most loyal servants.

He began as an accountant for Trump’s father’s company before joining the Trump Organization as financial controller in the 1980s when Donald established himself as a Manhattan real estate mogul.

Allen Weisselberg, pictured standing behind former president Donald Trump and his son Donald Jr. in January 2017, has served as the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization since the 1980s

Allen Weisselberg, pictured standing behind former president Donald Trump and his son Donald Jr. in January 2017, has served as the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization since the 1980s

Weisselberg has been around for all of Trump’s entrepreneurial adventures, including when his Atlantic City casinos went bust.

According to Barbara Res, a former executive vice president at the Trump Organization, Weisselberg ‘thought Trump was a god,’ she told the Daily News.

Investigators believe Weisselberg knows all of the Trump family secrets and have been putting pressure on him for months to cooperate with their investigation.

Observers are closely watching whether Weisselberg will turn against his former boss.

Michael Cohen

Trump’s ex-personal lawyer was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 for tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws relating to Trump’s 2016 vote win.

Cohen was one of Trump’s closest henchmen for a decade, once proudly boasting that he was prepared to ‘take a bullet’ for the real estate mogul-turned-president.

Michael Cohen, pictured March 2021, openly rejoices in former boss Donald Trump's legal troubles on Twitter and through his podcast

Michael Cohen, pictured March 2021, openly rejoices in former boss Donald Trump’s legal troubles on Twitter and through his podcast

He turned against his former boss, though, deciding to collaborate with federal investigators in Manhattan.

During a Congressional hearing in February 2019, Cohen alleged — among other things — that Trump regularly undervalued or overvalued his assets, both with banks and insurance companies.

Cohen openly rejoices in Trump’s legal troubles on Twitter and through his podcast ‘Mea Culpa.’

Source: AFP



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