Manhattan DA’s bomb prosecution against Trump’s company and CFO is just the tip of the iceberg


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Former US President Donald Trump will address the Conservative Political Activities Council (CPAC) at Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida, on February 28, 2021. Joe Ladle / Getty Images

  • Prosecution against Trump organization. And that CFO could be the beginning of a legal tornado for Trump.

  • Experts say the speed with which prosecutors filed indictments is bad news for Trump.

  • He also faces the potential for other employees to turn over, and his company has been hit hard financially.

  • See other articles on Insider’s business page..

On Thursday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office withdrew its long-awaited indictment against the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg. The radical 25-page document charged the defendants with 15 felony charges, including plans for fraud, conspiracy, massive theft, tax evasion, and falsification of business records.

On the surface, the indictment is not dangerous to former President Donald Trump, who has personally accused DA’s office of political persecution for the past few months. Express an alarm About the case.He has not been charged with crime this week and he Was not Unindicted conspirators listed in the document. Both Weisserberg and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty.

That said, Thursday’s progress could suggest potentially serious legal and financial problems for the former president in the future.

The first and most dangerous possibility is that Trump himself could be prosecuted if an investigator discovers that he is engaged in a criminal offense. The investigation was still underway, and the prosecutor nominated him several times in the indictment while explaining the facts of the case. Carrie Dunn, one of the Supreme Councilors of the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., also mentioned Trump in a Weisselberg prosecution Thursday.

“This was a 15-year tax evasion plan,” he said. “Contrary to the statement of the former CEO, this was not a standard tax system.”

Dan also appears to hint at Trump’s role in some of the alleged illegal acts outlined in the indictment, telling Weisselberg that “the former CEO himself signed many illegal compensation checks.” ..

“Maybe I’ve been thinking to this day. They don’t have the goods in Trump, so they’re charging Weisserberg.” Tweet Daniel Hemel, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, when the indictment was opened. “They have goods in Trump.”

Donald Trump Allen Weisserberg

Trump and Allen Weisserberg. Reuters / Carlo Allegri // File Photo

Prompt prosecution and looming danger of additional collaborators

Another sign of a problem for the former president is the speed with which DA’s office was prosecuted. Vance began the investigation in 2019, but prosecutors gained access to the documents they needed just a few months ago.

“Given how short the records of Mr. Trump and his company were, it showed how quickly the government was able to put together what appeared to be a very solid case in this indictment, Mr. Trump. Will not be lost to the lawyer. ” Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who was on the team guilty of John Gotti, the boss of the Gambino family.

“If you are Trump, all records are in the hands of the prosecutor, and the prosecutor returns immediately with prosecution against your company and the CFO, it suspends you and if you do something. Will understand that is illegal and it is very likely that these prosecutors will find it, “Cotter added.

Then there is the fact that the first criminal accusation was Weisserberg, the chief secretary of the Trump Organization. Explained As a “disciple” for Trump’s loyalty to the former president.

“Loyalty is a powerful force, and Weisselberg’s personal and professional connection between Trump and Trump’s family is a long-standing connection that dates back decades,” said Jens, Dean of Cornell Law School. David Olin says.

This week’s prosecution is the first major test of that loyalty.

“Whenever your close friends and people who have been familiar with you and your business for a long time are prosecuted for criminal charges, it’s dangerous,” Cotter said. “If any of those people know something that can bother you, they will obviously be tempted to work with the government.”

Weisselberg, on his side, remained a mother, and experts speculated that he might have withheld the best deal possible before the indictment went down.Some suggested that he refused to cooperate because Trump hired his son Barry and the Trump organization provided Weisselberg with a variety of things. Financial benefits Known as fringe benefits.

Aside from his loyalty to Trump, Weisselberg and his lawyer may have just done the math and decided not to turn it over. If he was tried and convicted a few years later, the judge would, to some extent, because of Weisserberg’s 73-year-old status as the first nonviolent criminal, and the amount of income he accused. May admit generosity. As far as white-collar cases are concerned, the rate of tax evasion is not astronomically high.

Allen Weisserberg enters court.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg (C) arrives to attend a criminal case hearing in a criminal court in Lower Manhattan, New York on July 1, 2021. did. Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images

But if the investigator digs up more evidence against Weisselberg and hits him for an additional fee, the calculation can change and Trump may find himself in the hot water. ..

“What’s happening now is a conflict between the prosecutor and Weisselberg,” said Randy Zelin, criminal defense counsel for Wilk Auslander LLP. “Prosecutors know they need a collaborator. They need Allen Weisselberg in the world who knows where all the bodies are buried. So he is prosecuted. What the prosecutor says is to cooperate voluntarily. Are we getting your attention now? “

Investigators could also prosecute employees of other Trump organizations, many of whom received the same kind of tax-exempt benefits that Weisselberg received, prosecutors said.

“They may not all be men in their 70s, as prosecutors are examining this evidence and threatening executives at other companies,” Cotter said. “They will think about the fact that they can be at the height of their lives, and if they make the wrong decisions, they can go to jail for five, six, or seven years. Cooperate.”

Vance’s case could hit Trump where it hurts: his finances

Even if Trump is not criminally liable, there are also financial challenges that may need to be considered in the future.

If the Trump Organization is tried and convicted of being charged, the criminal court is likely to impose a large fine on the company, and civil tax authorities can use the conviction to counter the Trump Organization. You can make financial decisions. ..

“In the case of tax evasion, what the IRS does, and what I always tell people, is to figure out how much you are cheating on taxes and double it, and perhaps that’s what you pay for. It will be, “Cotter said. “Therefore, the company will suffer a serious financial blow. It’s hard to say how it will affect Trump personally, but it’s not the cause of bankruptcy, but if his company loses. There is absolutely a significant economic impact on Trump. Trump will share the loss. “

After the indictment on Thursday, the Trump Organization issued a long statement that the investigation was “not legal, but political.”

Trump himself issued a statement, “Are people looking at the far-left prosecutor, and what they are trying to do to more than 75 million voters and patriots, and what it is?”

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