The Trump organization’s longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg surrendered to authorities Thursday as he and Donald Trump’s namesake company prepare to face the first charges of a criminal investigation.
Weisselberg, who helped run Trump’s real estate empire during his presidency, entered a building that houses Manhattan’s criminal court.
He and the Trump organization are expected to be arrested later in the day, a person familiar with the case has said.
The exact charges brought by District Attorney Cyrus Vance were not immediately known. Vance’s office has been working with investigators from New York’s Attorney Letitia James’ office.
An indictment against the Trump organization could undermine the company’s relationship with banks and business partners and complicate Trump’s political future as he considers running for president again in 2024.
In a statement, the Trump organization said Vance used Weisselberg, who has worked for the Trump family business for 48 years, “as a farmer in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former president.”
“This is not justice; this is politics, ”the company said.
Trump is not expected to be charged this week, though prosecutors have said their investigation into his firm is continuing, his attorney Ronald Fischetti has said.
The former president, a Republican, has denied wrongdoing, calling the probe a “witch hunt” by politically motivated prosecutors. Vance and James are both Democrats.
Thursday’s taxes are expected to focus on whether Weisselberg and other executives have received perks and benefits like rent-free apartments and leased cars without reporting them properly on their tax returns, people familiar with the probe have said.
The Trump organization called Vance’s case a lawsuit that neither the Internal Revenue Service nor any other district attorney “would ever think of bringing.”
Mary Mulligan, an attorney for Weisselberg, has declined to comment on possible charges.
In a statement Monday, Trump called prosecutors biased and said his company’s actions were in no way a crime.
The Trump organization could face fines and other sanctions if convicted.
FOCUS ON PERKS, GIFTS
Prosecutors may increase the pressure on Weisselberg to cooperate with prosecutors, which he has resisted.
Weisselberg’s collaboration could be crucial to any future case against his longtime boss.
A privately held family-run business, the Trump Organization operates hotels, golf courses, and resorts around the world.
The indictment itself could undermine the Trump Organization’s relationship with banks and business partners.
Before Trump entered the White House in January 2017, Trump put his company in a position of trust that was overseen by his adult sons and Weisselberg, who has maintained tight control over the company’s finances. It is unclear what role Trump now has in the company.
The court’s filing, public records, and filed documents have shown that Weisselberg and his son Barry have received perks and gifts potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including many real estate benefits.
The case could be accused as a scheme by the company to pay people off the books to hide assets for many years.
Vance has investigated a number of potential misdemeanors, including whether Trump’s firm manipulated the value of its real estate to reduce its taxes and secure favorable loan terms.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld, Jonathan Stempel, Jan Wolfe, Julia Harte, Tom Hals, Brendan Pierson and Joseph Tanfani; Editing by Peter Graff)