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.
Trump, in a lengthy and rambling statement issued on Monday, 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.’
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.
‘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.
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.
They would 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.
Donald Trump won’t be personally charged in the Manhattan district attorney’s case against the former president’s business organization in the first indictment, his attorney said
Nor would the charges be related to concerns The Trump Organization used misleading valuations of its properties to deceive lenders.
‘We asked, ‘Is there anything else?’ Fischetti told Politico. ‘They said, ‘No.’
‘It’s crazy that that’s all they had,’ he added.
He noted he expects charges to be filed against the company this week or next.
‘They just said, ‘When this indictment comes down, he won’t be charged,’ Ronald Fischetti, a New York attorney who represents Trump, told Politico
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 will 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.
It would be the first criminal charges 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 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.
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
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 (seen between Trump and Donald Trump Jr)
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been conducting a long-running investigation into Donald Trump’s businesses
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.
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.
Charges against the Trump Organization could come this week or next
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. 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, 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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.’