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Criminal charges against Trump Org said to be imminent, former president in the clear

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The Manhattan District Attorney’s office informed lawyers for the Trump Organization that some members are likely to face criminal charges next week, but reports Friday indicated that former President Donald Trump will not be among those indicted.

The charges are the result of a months-long investigation by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance’s office and are likely centered around tax issues, according to several people familiar with the probe who spoke to NBC News.

Trump attorneys lambasted the Democratic DA’s office and suggested that the charges are politically motivated.

“It looks like they are going to come down with charges against the company, and that is completely outrageous,” Trump attorney Ron Fischetti remarked following a report by The New York Times. “I’ve been practicing for over 50 years, and I’ve never seen a case like this.”

Several reports noted that one of the people who will face charges is Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s long-serving chief financial officer. The Trump attorney said that after Vance’s office kept pressuring Weisselberg to give up dirt on the former president and his family and he refused, they charged him.

“They could not get Allen Weisselberg to cooperate and tell them what they wanted to hear, and that’s why they are going forward with these charges,” Fischetti said.

“They could not get him to cooperate because he would not say that Donald Trump had knowledge or any information that he may have been not deducting properly the use of cars or an apartment,” the attorney continued.

“NBC News first reported this year in an interview with Jennifer Weisselberg, Allen Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, that the Manhattan DA was probing schemes where Trump employees including the Weisselbergs were able to avoid paying taxes in exchange for benefits such as an apartment,” the network added.

Fischetti told the outlet that lawyers for the Trump Organization met with officials from Vance’s office on Thursday and attempted to convince the DA not to proceed.

Earlier this week, the network confirmed that DA investigators were also looking into Trump’s former bodyguard, Matthew Calamari, who had become the organization’s chief operating officer. The Wall Street Journal reported that Calamari was also being looked at for possibly receiving tax-free benefits from the Trump Organization.

The potential indictments are part of a wide-ranging probe Vance has been conducting into Trump world. According to court documents, Vance is looking into “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” that includes insurance fraud, tax fraud, and falsifying business records, according to the paper.

The New York Attorney General’s office under Letitia James has also assigned investigators to look into Trump’s company, prompting additional outcries of political bias from members of the former president himself and his family.

In May, after James’ office announced the probe had turned criminal, Trump decried it as “a new phenomenon of ‘headhunting’ prosecutors and AGs.” He also criticized a previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in July 2020 authorizing the release of years’ worth of his tax returns to New York investigators.

“This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!”

Jon Dougherty

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