The Trump Organization Will Be Criminally Charged: Report

The Trump Organization and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg will be criminally charged on Thursday by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The charges are reportedly related to illicit fringe benefits the Trump Organization allegedly provided to Weisselberg.

The news of the impending indictments is not surprising. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Weisselberg could be charged imminently, and in recent days reports have surfaced that those charges could be coming this week, along with charges against the Trump Organization itself. Trump Organization lawyers reportedly met with prosecutors on Monday in a last-ditch effort to convince them not to indict the company. It appears they were not successful.

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The DA’s office has for months been investigating whether Weisselberg illegally shirked paying taxes on fringe benefits, which allegedly included cars, apartments, and private school tuition for his grandchild. It was reported last week that Trump Organization Chief Operation Officer Matthew Calamari may have received similar illicit benefits from the company, although there has been no indication he will be charged this week. The Wall Street Journal’s report notes that it’s unusual for an individual or company to be charged solely for failing to pay taxes on benefits, and that such charges are often used as part of larger cases. Attorneys for both Weisselberg and Calamari have so far refused to comment on the investigation, and the Trump Organization has denied any wrongdoing.

It’s unclear to what extent Trump may be personally exposed. He is no longer shielded from charges like he was while he was president, but proving criminal intent is going to be a tall task for the DA’s office, which is now working in tandem with the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. Daniel Goldman, the lead Democratic counsel during the 2019 House Impeachment inquiry, tweeted on Tuesday that he does not believe the DA’s office will be able to charge Trump without first convincing Weisselberg to flip on his boss.

Weisselberg has so far refused to cooperate with investigators, but that could change if the 73-year-old is facing jail time. “It’s one thing to be loyal to somebody, up until the point where you’re doing jail time for them,” Rebecca Roiphe, a New York Law School professor and former assistant DA in Manhattan, told Rolling Stone. “It’s quite another when you’re facing that reality.”

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