New York – Trump organization lawyers made a final attempt on Monday to fend off what appeared to be a disabling criminal charge against the ex-president’s company, according to US media.
A number of reports in the past few days seem to suggest that the former New York real estate mogul’s business practices are being investigated behind closed doors – a case opened more than two years ago by the Manhattan District Attorney and two Democratic Congressmen, which is on suspicion Financial fraud – bearing fruit.
Attorneys for the Trump Organization, an unlisted family holding company that owns golf clubs, hotels and luxury properties, presented their final arguments to prosecutors on Monday to prevent charges, according to multiple media outlets, including the Washington Post.
According to CNN, a face-to-face meeting was planned.
Other anonymous sources cited by the New York Times suggested that ancillary charges against the company’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, were being considered and not reported to the tax authorities.
When asked by AFP, neither prosecutors nor lawyers from the Trump organization nor Weisselberg himself would confirm the reports.
Ron Fischetti, an attorney for the Trump organization, only told CNN that the prosecutors have not yet been “receptive” to arguments against the bringing of an indictment.
Trump himself seemed to corroborate the reports when he issued a statement condemning the investigation as politically motivated, saying, “Now they just leaked that one day, today, we will make our case for things across the board American business world are common practice. and in no way a crime. “
For Bennett Gershman, a law professor at Pace University and a former Manhattan attorney, an indictment should be a matter of “days, not weeks.”
Could the company itself be sued without Trump or his family members also being charged? In early 2017, Trump handed over management of the company to his two eldest sons and Weißelberg when he went to the White House.
Many forensic experts consider this unlikely and expect Weisselberg – who is often referred to as the guardian of company secrets and has so far refused to cooperate with the judiciary – either simultaneously with the Trump Organization or soon afterwards.
“It’s unusual to incriminate a company,” said Gershman. “A company works with individuals.”
But no one is willing to bet on whether Trump – who held his first major political rally since leaving on Saturday and is shy about whether he will run again in 2024 – will be charged himself.
The 75-year-old, who left his home in New York for Florida, has not commented publicly on the reports.
But at the end of May he described this investigation as the continuation of the “greatest witch hunt in US history”.
Even if he were to be charged one day, according to US electoral law, that would theoretically not prevent him from running for another term.
The investigation focuses on eight years of tax returns from the former president, which the prosecutor obtained after a long legal battle, as well as the testimony of his personal ex-attorney Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison and is cooperating with investigators.
Cohen said the company has consistently over- or undervalued its assets, which constitutes possible tax evasion or insurance fraud.
One thing is certain, however: the investigation will go beyond the initial charges and leave the door open to further charges.
And the possibility that the judiciary will catch up with Trump always delights his opponents.
“He doesn’t obey the rules, he never obeys the rules,” Barbara Res, the former vice president of the Trump organization, told CNN.
“He deserves a long jail term,” said Res, who authored a book about her years at Trump Tower called “Tower of Lies.”
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