- The Manhattan DA’s office has charged the Trump Organization and its CFO, reports say.
- Prosecutors have spent three years investigating potential tax crimes.
- The indictments will be unsealed Thursday, according to the Times.
A grand jury in New York indicted the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, as part of a years-long investigation into tax crimes, The New York Times first reported.
It is the first wave of charges following the Manhattan District Attorney’s office’s three-year investigation into whether former President Donald Trump’s sprawling real-estate company violated state laws and engaged in financial crimes.
The full scope of the charges was not immediately clear. The indictments are expected to be unsealed Thursday after Weisselberg and attorneys representing the Trump Organization appear in court, the Wall Street Journal first reported. A representative for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.
The charges against CFO Allen Weisselberg are said to involve receiving benefits from the company — like apartments, cars, and school tuition — without paying the appropriate taxes on them, The Associated Press reported.
Weisselberg has been under prosecutorial scrutiny for months as investigators tried to flip him as a cooperating witness.
Prosecutors have also examined whether Matthew Calamari, the Trump Organization’s chief operating officer, and his son Matthew Calamari Jr., the company’s head of security, accepted similar perks without paying taxes on them.
Nicholas Gravante Jr., an attorney representing both Calamaris, told Insider that he did not expect charges against his clients this week.
“Although the DA’s investigation obviously is ongoing, I do not expect charges to be filed against either of my clients at this time,” he said on Wednesday.
The investigation kicked into high gear in February when the Supreme Court cleared the way for prosecutors to obtain eight years of Trump’s tax returns. Prosecutors homed in on Weisselberg earlier this year and secured the cooperation of his former daughter-in-law, Jennifer.
Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider that she’d given investigators boxes of documents from her messy divorce with Barry Weisselberg, also a Trump Organization employee. She said they showed evidence of the couple receiving fringe benefits from the Trump Organization — like housing and tuition payments for their children — without properly paying taxes on them.
Duncan Levin, Jennifer Weisselberg’s attorney in the case, said his client provided a “mountain” of evidence to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
“We are very gratified to hear the reporting that the DA’s office is considering bringing criminal charges,” Levin said. “We had been working with them and other investigators since late last year and have provided investigators with a mountain of evidence about not only fringe benefits but also other potential tax issues.”
Barbara Res, a former executive at the company, told Insider that Barry Weisselberg’s position at the company could be part of the reason his father hasn’t flipped against Trump.
Weisselberg may still flip down the line
Manhattan prosecutors started investigating the Trump Organization after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and longtime fixer, accused the company of facilitating a hush-money payment to the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges that she had an affair with Trump in the mid-2000s.
Cohen testified to Congress that he and Weisselberg had helped coordinate the payment with Trump’s knowledge. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to several felony counts of campaign-finance violations, tax evasion, and wire fraud in connection with the payment.
The inquiry later ballooned to examine whether Trump’s real-estate business manipulated its property values for loan and tax purposes and whether it violated banking and insurance laws.
Trump himself has dismissed the investigation as politically motivated.
Ron Fischetti, Trump’s defense lawyer, told Politico earlier this week that his client would not be charged in the first indictment from the DA’s office.
Prosecutors “just said, ‘When this indictment comes down, he won’t be charged,'” Fischetti told Politico. He added that the DA’s office said its investigation was “ongoing,” meaning the former president may not be out of hot water just yet.
Legal experts say that even if key figures like Weisselberg haven’t struck cooperation deals, it doesn’t mean they won’t flip down the line and turn in a bigger fish. Fischetti acknowledged that investigators wanted to use other witnesses to get evidence against Trump.
“They could not get Allen Weisselberg to cooperate and tell them what they wanted to hear, and that’s why they are going forward with these charges,” he told NBC News last week. “They could not get him to cooperate because he would not say that Donald Trump had knowledge or any information that he may have been not deducting properly the use of cars or an apartment.”