The district attorney’s office of Manhattan is projected to file criminal charges aimed at former President Donald Trump’s business along with one of his chief executives. The charges are focused on tax-related crimes.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “The charges [are] against the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, the company’s longtime chief financial officer.”
“Mr. Trump himself isn’t expected to be charged. Mr. Weisselberg has rejected prosecutors’ attempts at gaining his cooperation, according to people familiar with the matter,” WSJ reported.
NBC News was told by two representatives of the Trump Organization that they were told to expect criminal charges to be filed as early as Thursday afternoon.
Cy Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney, said that his investigation of Weisselberg, 73, stemmed in part from questions about his son’s activities. Weisselberg’s son used one of Trump’s apartments at little or no cost, had cars leased for the family, and tuition payments made to a school attended by Weisselberg’s grandchildren.
Barry Weisselberg managed a Trump-operated ice rink in Central Park. Barry’s ex-wife, Jen Weisselberg, has been cooperating with the investigation and turned over boxes of tax records and other documents to investigators.
Mary Mulligan, an attorney for Weisselberg, has declined to comment. His wife also declined comment outside the couple’s Manhattan home early Wednesday.
These charges against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization would be the first criminal cases to come from the two-year investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. He is a Democrat who leaves office at the end of the year.
Prosecutors have been scouring Trump’s tax records, subpoenaing documents, and interviewing witnesses, including Trump insiders and company executives.
A grand jury was established to weigh the evidence and New York Attorney General Letitia James said she was going to add two of her lawyers to work with Vance on the criminal investigation. She is continuing a civil investigation of Trump.
Trump’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, but Jason Miller, a longtime senior adviser, challenged that possible charges would be “politically terrible for the Democrats.”
“They told their crazies and their supplicants in the mainstream media this was about President Trump. Instead, their Witch Hunt is persecuting an innocent 80-year-old man for maybe taking free parking!” Miller tweeted, referring to Weisselberg.
Trump lambasted the District Attorney’s office as “rude, nasty, and totally biased” in their treatment of Trump company lawyers, representatives, and long-term employees.
The former president said the company’s actions were “things that are standard practice throughout the U.S. business community, and in no way a crime” and that Vance’s probe was an investigation “in search of a crime.”
Lawyers for the Trump Organization met virtually with prosecutors from Manhattan in a final effort to dissuade them from charging the company. Prosecutors gave the lawyers a Monday deadline to make the case that criminal charges should not be filed.
A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Ron Fischetti, told the AP this week that there was no indication that the former president was included in the charges.
“There is no indictment coming down this week against the former president,” Fischetti said. “I can’t say he’s out of the woods yet completely.”
Allen Weisselberg has worked for the Trump Organization since 1973. Prosecutors subpoenaed another longtime Trump finance executive, senior vice president, and controller Jeffrey McConney. They want him to testify in front of the grand jury in the spring. Under New York law, grand jury witnesses are granted immunity and can not be charged for conduct they testify about.
Prosecutors have also been looking at Matthew Calamari, a former Trump bodyguard turned chief operating officer, and his son, the company’s corporate director of security. However, a lawyer for the Calamaris said Wednesday that he didn’t expect them to be charged.