Trump implicated in Trump Organization tax probe: report

  • Trump has been linked to the Trump Organization’s tax investigation, The Daily Beast reported.
  • A witness reportedly told investigators that Trump once offered to guarantee benefits instead of a taxable salary.
  • The Manhattan District Attorney has not charged Trump so far.

A witness cooperating with the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into the Trump Organization told prosecutors that Donald Trump once personally offered to pay benefits in lieu of taxable income, The Daily Beast reported on Friday, citing sources who heard the conversation.

The revelation could bolster any charges prosecutors may bring against Trump in a case in which his company and longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg have been charged.

Manhattan prosecutors are investigating whether leaders of the Trump Organization illegally took benefits without paying taxes on them and whether the company engaged in tax and financial fraud.

Earlier in July, prosecutors announced a 15-count indictment accusing Weisselberg and the company of facilitating a scheme in which he would accept corporate gifts like apartments and college tuition. instead of higher salaries, thus avoiding paying a good part of the taxes for both the company and its employees.

Two unnamed sources told The Daily Beast that they overheard a June 25 interview between investigators and witness, Jennifer Weisselberg, the former stepdaughter of Allen Weisselberg, in which she said Trump personally guaranteed to pay school fees, including school fees for her children, rather than giving a raise.

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The outlet did not specify how the sources related to the investigation. Jennifer Weisselberg’s attorney did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Charging documents filed by prosecutors earlier this month said Trump personally signed the tuition checks for Allen Weisselberg’s family members. The 25-page indictment makes multiple references to the former president.

‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it’

Jennifer Weisselberg allegedly told prosecutors that Trump said he would pay for her and Barry Weisselberg’s children’s education instead of giving Barry a raise, according to the Daily Beast report.

In previous interviews with Insider, Jennifer Weisselberg said Allen Weisselberg would facilitate payments and that the Trump Organization would give perks instead of raises as a way to control employees’ personal lives.

According to Daily Beast sources, the deal Jennifer Weisselberg recalled was reached in January 2012 during a meeting at Trump Tower with her, Trump, Barry Weisselberg and Allen Weisselberg. Barry Weisselberg, who was her husband at the time, is also an employee of the Trump Organization.

Jennifer Weisselberg told prosecutors that at some point during the meeting, Trump turned to her and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything,” the sources told The Daily Beast.

Investigators also asked Jennifer Weisselberg, who is in the midst of litigation stemming from her divorce from Barry Weisselberg in 2018, if Trump was personally involved in the alleged scheme, and she said he was, sources told The Daily Beast.

Manhattan DA investigation is ongoing

The Manhattan District Attorney charged the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg earlier this month with 15 counts of scheme for fraud, conspiracy, grand larceny, tax evasion and falsifying business records.

The indictment included evidence indicating that Trump was personally involved in covering the tuition fees of his employees’ children. From 2012 to 2017, the indictment stated: “Trump Corporation personnel, including Weisselberg, arranged for the tuition of Weisselberg’s family members to be paid by personal checks drawn on the account and signed by Donald J. Trump, then drawn on the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust account dated April 7, 2017.”

Prosecutors said Weisselberg omitted the tuition from his personal tax returns, even though he knew the payments “represented taxable income and were treated as compensation by the Trump Corporation in internal records.”

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York State Attorney General Letitia James arrive in court for Allen Weisselberg’s hearing on July 1.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Trump called the investigation a “witch hunt.”

This month’s indictment represents the first charges to emerge from the Manhattan prosecutor’s three-year investigation into Trump’s business dealings. But prosecutors said the investigation is ongoing, and legal experts told Insider the charges may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Trump.

“It’s not going to escape Trump’s lawyers that the government has shown with this indictment how quickly they’ve been able to put together what looks like a very strong case, given the short time they’ve had for Trump. and his company records,” said Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who was part of the team that convicted Gambino crime boss John Gotti.

According to Randy Zelin, a former New York state attorney, the allegation that Trump personally signed the tuition checks is unlikely to alter Trump’s personal exposure to the investigation. Trump has given speeches in the past in which he has not disputed the facts underlying prosecutors’ allegations.

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Allen Weisselberg, Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, watches as Trump speaks during a press conference at Trump Tower on May 31, 2016.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters/file photo

Zelin said if the case went to trial, Trump would likely admit to paying the employees’ tuition, but expected others to make sure the tax payments were in order. .

“It could be something as simple as ‘Yes, sure, I’ve agreed to have tuition covered as long as it’s done in a legitimate way, and that’s why I have accountants, directors financiers, lawyers and professionals,” Zelin, now a defense attorney at Wilk Auslander LLP, told Insider.

Investigators could also bring charges against other Trump Organization employees, many of whom prosecutors say received the same type of untaxed benefits as Weisselberg.

“As prosecutors sift through this evidence and threaten other corporate executives, they may not all be guys in their 60s,” like Allen Weisselberg, Cotter said. “They may be in their prime and they’ll think about the fact that they could go to jail for five, six, seven years if they get the wrong judge. These are the guys who can have more motivation to cooperate.”

Alan Futerfas, the Trump Organization’s attorney, did not provide comment to The Daily Beast. Liz Harrington, spokeswoman for Trump, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.


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