- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 1, 2021

Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, surrendered to Manhattan prosecutors Thursday ahead of charges tied to a probe into former President Donald Trump’s businesses and alleged tax crimes.

Indictments against Mr. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization are expected to be unsealed by the afternoon.

Charges handed up by the grand jury are unknown but amount to the first against Mr. Trump’s business. 

The former president, who faced two impeachments and a series of probes during his term in office, is not expected to be charged.

Mr. Weisselberg, 73, surrendered at the building housing criminal operations shortly after 6 a.m. ahead of his arraignment later in the day.

He has worked for Mr. Trump since the early 1970s, giving him a rare glimpse into the organization’s inner workings and finances.

The organization’s bean counter is viewed as loyal to Mr. Trump. But he will be under pressure to cooperate with investigators if he faces great legal jeopardy, potentially creating more trouble for the business and Mr. Trump.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. reportedly zeroed in on fringe benefits given to employees, such as school tuition, housing and leased cars, and whether workers evaded taxes on them.

Mr. Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg, cooperated with prosecutors.

The Trump Organization released a statement describing Mr. Weisselberg as a “devoted husband, father and grandfather.”

“He is now being used by the Manhattan District Attorney as a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former President,” the company said. “The District Attorney is bringing a criminal prosecution involving employee benefits that neither the IRS nor any other District Attorney would ever think of bringing. This is not justice; this is politics.”

Experts say proving a tax-evasion case would be difficult, and Trump attorney Ron Fischetti has blasted the theory behind the charges as “outrageous.”

Mr. Trump has slammed the investigators as rude and says the probe is an extension of a “witch hunt” against him by political opponents.

He restarted trademark rallies ahead of a possible presidential run in 2024 and could use the charges to fire up supporters, though an ongoing legal fight would be a distraction and potential drag on his family business of hotels and golf resorts if he seeks his old job.

The White House said in response to reporters’ questions about the case that President Biden believes “it’s long past due for the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.”

“He’s announced a number of initiatives to crack down on tax evasion by high-income individuals and big corporations,” said deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who declined to comment on the details of the Trump case.

Dave Boyer contributed to this story.

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