Trump executive surrenders to authorities

Allen Weisselberg, a loyal lieutenant to Trump and his real estate-developer father, Fred, has helped pull the strings for 48 years.

By

National News

July 1, 2021 - 10:40 AM

Allen Weisselberg, center, CFO of Trump Organization, in 2017. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

The Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, surrendered to authorities early Thursday ahead of an expected court appearance on the first criminal indictment in a two-year investigation into business practices at Donald Trump’s company.

Weisselberg was photographed walking into the the complex that houses criminal courts and the Manhattan district attorney’s office at around 6:20 a.m. with his lawyer.

New York prosecutors were expected to announce an indictment Thursday accusing Weisselberg and Trump’s namesake company of tax crimes related to fringe benefits for employees.

The case against Weisselberg — a loyal lieutenant to Trump and his real estate-developer father, Fred — could give prosecutors the means to pressure the executive into cooperating and telling them what he knows about Trump’s business dealings.

In a statement, Weisselberg lawyers Mary Mulligan and Bryan Skarlatos said he “intends to plead not guilty and he will fight these charges in court.”

The Trump Organization issued a statement defending Weisselberg, saying the 48-year employee is being used by the Manhattan district attorney’s office as “a pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.” It said neither the IRS nor any other district attorney would ever think of bringing such charges over employee benefits.

“This is not justice; this is politics,” the company said.

The charges against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg remained sealed but were to be unveiled ahead of an afternoon arraignment at a state court in Manhattan, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The people were not authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation and did so on condition of anonymity.

Cyrus Vance Jr. in 2009. www.flickr.com

There was no indication Trump himself would be charged at this stage of the investigation, jointly pursued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats.

Trump did not respond to reporters’ shouted questions about the New York case as he visited Texas on Wednesday, but earlier in the week, the Republican had blasted the New York prosecutors as “rude, nasty, and totally biased” and said his company’s actions were “standard practice throughout the U.S. business community, and in no way a crime.”

The planned charges were said to be linked to benefits the company gave to top executives, like the use of apartments, cars and school tuition, the people familiar with the matter told the AP.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment.

Vance, who leaves office at the end of the year, has been conducting a wide-ranging investigation into a variety of matters involving Trump and the Trump Organization.

His office has looked into hush-money payments paid to women on Trump’s behalf and truthfulness in the company’s property valuations and tax assessments, among other matters.

Vance fought a long battle to get Trump’s tax records and has been subpoenaing documents and interviewing company executives and other Trump insiders.

James assigned two lawyers from her office to work with Vance’s team after her office found evidence of possible criminal wrongdoing while conducting a separate civil investigation of Trump.

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