Pressure Mounts On Trump Organization CFO To Cooperate Against Donald Trump

Pressure Mounts On Trump Organization CFO To Cooperate Against Donald Trump

- in Politics

(CNN)The Trump Organization’s chief financial officer is staring down a decision: whether to cooperate with prosecutors against former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization or potentially face criminal tax-related charges.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office and New York attorney general’s tax investigation into Allen Weisselberg, involving a corporate apartment, cars and school tuition for his grandchildren, is at an advanced stage, according to a person familiar with the matter. On Friday, his former daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg met again with prosecutors.

Prosecutors could decide whether to seek an indictment against Weisselberg as soon as next month, the person said.

    Whether Weisselberg, who has been with the Trump Organization for nearly 40 years, cooperates could help determine whether he faces criminal charges and whether Trump and the company itself face state charges in an investigation that has spanned three years involved a Supreme Court battle over a subpoena for Trump’s taxes, and delved into multiple financial pockets of the company.

      His testimony could be critical. Trump doesn’t use email and there are a few people, including Weisselberg who could explain how decisions were made in the Trump organization. Weisselberg, if he cooperated, could give prosecutors evidence about the intent behind some of the decisions. It is not clear whether prosecutors believe they have evidence that the Trump Organization violated state laws.

        In addition to fringe benefits given to Weisselberg, prosecutors are looking into other employees at the Trump Organization who received benefits and whether it was a tactic by the Trump Organization to avoid paying payroll taxes, people familiar with the investigation said.

        Two of those individuals under scrutiny for receiving subsidized rent and company cars are Matthew Calamari, Trump’s one-time security guard who rose to chief operating officer, and his son, one of the people said, and The Wall Street Journal first reported

          A lawyer for the Calamaris did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The investigation into Calamari is not as advanced as the investigation of Weisselberg, the person said.

          Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt” and said it is politically motivated. Weisselberg has not been accused of any wrongdoing. His attorney declined to comment.

          Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s term ends in six months and he is expected to make a decision in the case before he leaves office, people familiar with the investigation have told CNN. The New York Times first reported that Vance’s office could make a decision whether to charge Weisselberg this summer.

          The investigation’s focus on the Trump Organization has recently narrowed to benefits the company gave to employees, such as corporate apartments, cars and hotel rooms, and whether appropriate taxes were paid, people familiar with the investigation have told CNN.

          Vance’s office has made broad records requests to the Trump Organization about benefits they have provided to employees, ranging from cars, apartments, rooms at hotels or club benefits, the people say.

          Prosecutors are still looking at the accuracy of values the company assigned to certain assets, such as Trump Tower, and whether lenders, insurers or tax authorities were misled and if the company filed false business records, the people said.

          Pressure from prosecutors has been relentless

          For months, pressure has been building on Weisselberg to cooperate with prosecutors. Since late last year, the attorney general and district attorney have gathered evidence on Weisselberg, personally, aided in part by his former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg, who has been cooperating with authorities. She has turned over boxes of financial records and has met with investigators multiple times.

          Jennifer Weisselberg previously told CNN that she has discussed perks that she and her ex-husband Barry, a Trump Organization employee received, ranging from corporate apartments to car leases. She also told CNN in April she believes that at least one of her children’s tuition payments were paid for, at times, by Donald Trump. In a 2018 divorce deposition, Barry testified that his father paid for the former couple’s children’s tuition at Columbia Grammar & Prepara

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