October 28, 2021

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Reports: Grand jury indicts Trump Organization, top executive – Axios

2 min read

A grand jury in Manhattan has indicted the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: The indictment, which is expected to be unsealed Thursday, is the first in Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s nearly three-year investigation into former President Trump’s finances.

  • The exact charges were not immediately clear, but the Post, citing people familiar with the matter, reported they were related to allegations of unpaid taxes.
  • Prosecutors have mounted an aggressive effort to pressure the 73-year-old Weisselberg — who has intimate knowledge of the Trump Organization’s finances — to cooperate in the investigation.
  • Trump and his family members have reportedly not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing. “I can’t say he’s out of the woods yet completely,” Trump lawyer Ron Fischetti told AP on Monday, while deriding prosecutors’ findings as highly underwhelming.

How we got here: Vance began investigating the Trump Organization in 2019 after it emerged that the company had reimbursed former Trump fixer Michael Cohen for $130,000 in hush money that he paid to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who claimed to have had an affair with the president.

  • The scope of the inquiry soon grew to encompass a wide range of potential wrongdoing by Trump and his business, including tax benefits and allegations that the company manipulated the value of its properties, according to the New York Times.
  • Vance subpoenaed Trump’s financial records in August 2019 and finally secured them in February 2021, after the Supreme Court ended a long-running legal battle over Trump’s claims of “absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind” while in office.
  • Trump’s lawyers met with prosecutors on Monday as part of a last-ditch effort to persuade them not to bring charges. Vance may not oversee the prosecution if it goes to trial, as he plans to leave office on Dec. 31.

What they’re saying: Trump has denied any wrongdoing and issued a blistering statement on Monday condemning the DA investigation as “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time.”

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