The Trump Organization and Donald Trump’s long-time Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who has been with the former president for more than five decades, were charged with tax fraud. The charge brought upon Trump’s business organization, and Weisselberg arose from a three-year probe spearheaded by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, which New York Attorney General Letitia James became part of in May.
On Thursday, the Trump Organization lawyers and Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to the charges brought upon them. The CFO was ordered to surrender his passport and was released without bail. He left the courthouse without giving any comments to members of the media.
Inside a Manhattan courtroom, prosecutors narrated an alleged 15-year-long tax-fraud scheme that involved off-the-books payments to employees at the Trump Organization. Additionally, the prosecutors revealed that their probe discovered executives enjoying many perks such as living in Manhattan apartments owned by Trump and car leases, the taxes of which were not paid by either the company or the recipient.
According to the indictment, the 73-year-old Weisselberg managed to illegally avoid paying taxes valued at $1.76 million in benefits since 2005.
Weisselberg was also charged with grand larceny. If found guilty, he can possibly face a maximum 15-year prison term. The Trump Organization, on the other hand, is at risk of paying fines and penalties if found guilty.
“There’s no clearer example of a company that should be held to account,” revealed prosecutor Carey Dunne in court. “It’s not about politics.”
Although Trump himself was not charged along with his business and Weisselberg, it was noted that the former president signed a couple of checks central to the investigation of the case. A top prosecutor in the case revealed that the 15-year scheme was “orchestrated by the most senior executives” at the organization.
Trump condemned the case and, in a statement, said that it is a “political Witch Hunt by the Radical Left Democrats.” Lawyers from Weisselberg’s camp confirmed that the CFO is prepared to fight these cases.
Despite the fact that prosecutors have openly stated that the charges are not politically motivated, Trump and his camp believe otherwise. Trump has been known to be discussing a possible comeback run for the presidential seat in 2024. The indictment could not have come at a better time. In his statement, Trump said that this move is dividing the country instead of uniting it.
Prosecutor Carey Dunne made it very clear that politics has nothing to do with the recent events.” This investigation, which is ongoing, has been thorough, careful and proper, and has been limited to subject matters within our New York jurisdiction.”
It is worthy to note that Mr. Trump is the first president after Gerald Ford, who refrained from making his tax returns documents available to the public. The former president became a property developer after inheriting wealth from his father.
Amid the series of investigations that Mr. Trump will be facing in light of recent events, he continues to vehemently deny any intentional wrongdoings involving his company or personal financial transactions.