According to people familiar with the matter, the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Alan Wesselberg will accept criminal charges from the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance as early as next week.
People familiar with the matter said that Trump Organization lawyers were warned of the possibility of accounting for fringe benefits during a roughly 90-minute Zoom meeting with prosecutors in Vance’s office and New York’s Attorney General Leticia James’ office on Thursday. File an accusation.
Vance called a special grand jury to hear the evidence in late May, indicating that the years-long investigation is entering a critical phase. According to New York State law, prosecutors cannot prosecute a company for fraud without prosecuting senior managers who are deemed responsible for the suspected activities.
Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, Jennifer, told prosecutors the so-called fringe benefits the Trump Organization issued, including rent-free apartments, tuition, luxury cars and other allowances. She said such off-book gifts are used to encourage loyalty and limit taxes.
Jennifer is married to Allen’s son Barry Wesselberg, who manages the Trump-run skating rink in Central Park.
“Weisselberg’s matter is imminent,” said a person familiar with the situation.
Donald Trump has been agitating for a return to politics and hinted that he will participate in the 2024 White House election, but he has repeatedly refuted the investigations of the two New York Democrats, Vance and James, calling him a “partisan witch hunt.”
Weisselberg’s lawyer Mary Mulligan declined to comment. Spokespeople for the Manhattan DA and the New York Attorney General, who are cooperating in the investigation, also declined to comment.
Ronald Fischetti, the lawyer representing Trump, issued a fierce statement rejecting any such allegations.
“In my more than 50 years of practice, I have never seen the district attorney’s office provide compensation or fringe benefits for the company’s employees,” he said. “The IRS will not and has never filed such a case.”
According to a person familiar with Zoom’s telephone briefing, during the meeting, Trump’s lawyers argued that the district attorney had not filed charges against major Wall Street banks after the 2008 financial crisis. The accusations are even more unreasonable.
Vance began an investigation in 2018 after reports that the former manipulator of the president, Michael Cohen, paid “hush money” to women who claimed to have an affair with the then presidential candidate. Cohen testified to Congress that he arranged with Wesselberg to use Trump Organization funds listed as legal expenses for reimbursement.
The investigation then evolved to consider possible banking and accounting frauds by the Trump Organization, including whether to exaggerate the value of certain properties to ensure that bank loans are obtained on preferential terms while minimizing them for tax purposes.
In recent months, the prosecution has been increasing pressure on Wesselberg, who was employed by the former president’s father Fred Trump and described himself as the company’s “eyes and ear”.
The former prosecutor said his cooperation is essential to bring a larger lawsuit against the company or Trump himself. Trump’s three adult children — Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric — have also held executive positions at the company. However, according to people familiar with the matter, Weisselberg has refused to cooperate so far.