Trump Group, Allen Weisselberg face attainable prison prices
President-elect Donald Trump arrives with his son Donald Jr. for a press conference at Trump Tower in New York as Allen Weisselberg (C), Chief Financial Officer of The Trump, looks on on January 11, 2017.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys were warned this week by the Manhattan prosecutor that prosecutors could prosecute the Trump organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg as early as next week.
The New York Times, and later NBC News, reported that Trump’s attorneys were told that DA Cyrus Vance Jr. is considering indicting Trump’s New York-based firm and Weisselberg in connection with fringe benefits the CFO received from the company.
Vance could file criminal charges as early as next week if he chooses to file charges, experts on the matter told the newspaper.
Trump’s attorney, Ronald Fischetti, upheld the Times’ first report of possible criminal charges shortly after it went online.
Prosecutors are known to be investigating whether taxes on these benefits were paid to Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives for items such as apartments and school fees.
Fischetti said in a statement to NBC News that “there are no charges against Mr. Trump himself.”
“The company headquarters will plead not guilty and we will file an immediate motion to terminate the case against the company,” said Fischetti. “Mr. Trump is outraged that they are still persecuting him by stalking his company where he has had loyal employees for decades.”
“It looks like they are going to bring charges against the company and that is totally outrageous,” said Fischetti.
“I’ve been practicing for over 50 years and have never seen a case like this where they charge or charge a person or company with tax evasion for using a company car or apartment and then link them to the company that does it for them he works with no evidence that what he did benefited the company. “
Weißelberg has been watched for months by Vance investigators, who are generally investigating allegations that the Trump Organization illegally manipulated the reported value of real estate assets in order to obtain better terms on insurance and loans and to lower their tax liability.
Prosecutors reportedly put pressure on Weißelberg to cooperate with their broader investigation into the company.
“They couldn’t get Allen Weisselberg to cooperate and tell them what they wanted to hear, and so they will pursue these charges,” said Fischetti.
“And they couldn’t get him to cooperate because he wasn’t going to say that Donald Trump had knowledge or information that he might not have properly deducted the use of cars or an apartment.”
Fischetti confirmed that he and other Trump attorneys met with senior prosecutors in Vance’s office on Thursday to try and get them not to indict the company.
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Mary Mulligan, Weisselberg’s attorney, declined to comment on the Times report to CNBC.
Danny Frost, a spokesman for Vance, also declined to comment.
CNBC has approached Trump and his company for comment.
Trump has repeatedly called Vance’s investigation and a similar investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James a “witch hunt”.
Vance is known to appoint a special grand jury to investigate Trump.