Trump Company CFO to plead not guilty to criminal tax charges
NEW YORK, July 1 (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s namesake company and longtime CFO are expected to fight criminal charges laid Thursday in an investigation by the Manhattan prosecutor.
The Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg are expected to be brought to justice later today in New York state court in Manhattan, a person familiar with the matter said, when an indictment before a grand jury must be unsealed.
Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the company, is expected to plead not guilty on his behalf, a person familiar with the matter said.
“Mr. Weisselberg intends to plead not guilty and he will challenge these charges in court,” Weisselberg’s attorneys Mary Mulligan and Bryan Skarlatos said in a joint statement. Weisselberg surrendered to the authorities in the early hours of the morning.
An impeachment by the Trump Organization could undermine the company’s relationships with banks and business partners, and complicate Trump’s political future as the Republican plans to run for president again in 2024.
Cyrus Vance, the district attorney, began his investigation almost three years ago and has worked with New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office in recent months on the still ongoing investigation. Vance and James are Democrats.
THE COMPANY SAYS ‘THIS IS POLICY’
In a statement, the Trump Organization said prosecutors were using Weisselberg, who has worked for the Trump family business for 48 years, as “a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former president.”
The company also called Vance’s case one that neither the Internal Revenue Service nor any other district attorney would ever bring.
“It’s not justice; it’s politics,” the company said.
Trump is not expected to be charged this week, his lawyer Ronald Fischetti has said.
The former president has denied wrongdoing and called the investigation a “witch hunt” by politically motivated prosecutors.
Thursday’s charges are expected to focus on whether Weisselberg and other executives have enjoyed perks and perks like rent-free apartments and rented cars, without properly reporting them on their tax returns, have said people familiar with the survey.
In a statement on Monday, Trump called prosecutors bias and said his company’s actions were “by no means a crime.”
The Trump Organization could face fines and other sanctions if found guilty.
The charges could increase pressure on Weisselberg to cooperate with prosecutors, which he has resisted. This cooperation could become crucial for any future case against his longtime boss.
The Trump Organization operates hotels, golf courses, and resorts around the world.
Before entering the White House in January 2017, Trump placed his company in a trust overseen by his adult sons and Weisselberg, who maintained tight control over the company’s finances. It’s unclear what role Trump now has in the business.
Court records, public records and subpoena documents show Weisselberg and his son Barry received benefits and gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including many real estate benefits.
The case could be accused as a ploy by the company to pay people off the books to hide assets for many years.
Vance looked at a range of potential wrongdoing, including whether Trump’s company manipulated the value of its real estate to lower taxes and secure favorable loan terms.
Reporting by Karen Freifeld, Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Julia Harte, Joseph Tanfani and Jan Wolfe in Washington, DC; and Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Peter Graff and Daniel Wallis
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