Prosecutors called it a 15-year-long scheme.
The Trump Organization, a behemoth corporate group composed of about 500 business entities, is in serious legal jeopardy this week — along with its long-time chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg. On June 30, a New York grand jury indicted the organization, as well as Weisselberg, with alleged tax-related crimes, making these charges the first criminal indictment of the organization since state prosecutors began investigating in 2018. Representatives of the Trump Organization did not immediately return Elite Daily’s request for comment. While former President Donald Trump himself — the owner of the company, who it’s named for — isn’t expected to face charges, people all over Twitter are enjoying the trainwreck of a situation, and honestly? So am I.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance was expected to announce the charges as soon as Thursday, July 1. However, before he could do so, Weisselberg surrendered himself that morning at the lower Manhattan district attorney’s office, per The New York Times. Vance’s team announced charges against The Trump Organization and Weisselberg for alleged tax evasion on corporate benefits (think: cars, apartments, and private school tuition), which prosecutors called a 15-year-long scheme. While these charges may seem trivial, they could be a strategy to compel Weisselberg into cooperating with state prosecutors who are investigating Trump’s alleged criminal misconduct, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But according to the Trump Organization, that won’t happen. Per ABC, a spokesperson from the organization weighed in with a July 1 statement describing Weisselberg as “a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather,” who “is now being used by the Manhattan District Attorney [Vance] as a pawn in a scorched earth attempt” to damage and defame the ex-president. “The district attorney is bringing a criminal prosecution involving employee benefits that neither the IRS or any other district attorney would ever think of bringing,” the spokesperson added. “This is not justice; this is politics.”
Well, if politics is a performance, then people all over Twitter are certainly finding it entertaining.
According to Trump’s New York legal representative, Ronald Fischetti, Vance’s investigation team doesn’t currently plan on pursuing charges on the Trump Organization for alleged “hush money” dealings with adult actress Stormy Daniels (Trump has admitted to being involved in the payment), or possible real estate manipulations. However, if Weisselberg does ultimately end up “turning” on the former president to cooperate with investigators, Trump’s financial and political legacy could suffer a major blow. For now, Weisselberg's legal team — Mary E. Mulligan and Bryan C. Skarlatos — have indicated their client intends to fight. “Mr. Weisselberg intends to plead not guilty and he will fight these charges in court,” they said in a July 1 statement, per CNBC.
According to multiple sources, Weisselberg has been a devoted Trump employee since the mid 1970s, and is unlikely to fold under pressure. But even without Weisselberg’s support, it seems like much of the damage has already been done: As of July 1, The Trump organization is facing a 15-count indictment, which includes charges of committing a scheme to defraud, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records, among others. Additionally, amid state investigations, the organization’s annual revenue dropped from $446 million in 2019 to $278 million in 2021. So while politicians may lie, the numbers never do.