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Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg could be charged as soon as this summer, report says

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Business Insider
Business Insider
 2021-06-16

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Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump, Jr. at Trump Tower in New York City.

Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's chief financial officer, could be charged with a crime by the Manhattan district attorney's office as soon as this summer, The New York Times reported .

The DA's office is investigating if the Trump Organization violated state laws when it facilitated a $130,000 hush money payment to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election. Daniels alleges that she had an affair with former President Donald Trump in the mid-2000s and that Trump arranged the payment to her in exchange for her silence while he was running for the White House.

Trump's longtime former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, later testified to Congress that he paid Daniels and that Weisselberg was aware of it and helped facilitate the reimbursements to Cohen, which were made in several installments.

Read more: The Manhattan DA's office picked up the pace of its investigation into Trump's finances once it hired a prosecutor who used to pursue mob bosses, a cooperating witness says

The DA's investigation kicked into high gear a few months ago when the Supreme Court cleared the way for state prosecutors to obtain Trump's closely held personal tax records. People familiar with the matter told The Times that a grand jury has been hearing evidence related to Weisselberg, and his former daughter-in-law Jennifer told Insider's Jacob Shamsian that she's also talked to prosecutors and has several boxes of documents she believes could be relevant to the investigation.

Though the report said he could be charged as soon as this summer, it's not clear if prosecutors will ultimately seek to indict Weisselberg. Indeed, investigators could be tightening the screws on him in an effort to get him to flip and secure his cooperation against a bigger fish.

Either way, experts believe the investigation into the Trump Organization is entering its end stages. The district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., is also retiring at the end of the year, and experts believe he'll want to make charging decisions before he leaves office.

Trump, for his part, has repeatedly expressed frustration with the DA's investigation as well as a separate, ongoing investigation by the New York attorney general, Tish James. James' probe began as a civil inquiry but recently shifted to a criminal investigation, and her office recently said it had started working with Vance's office in its investigation.

Last month, Trump unloaded on both Vance and James in a 909-word statement posted to his now-defunct blog.

He skewered James as someone who "literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump before she even knew anything about me" and pointed to several statements she made criticizing his administration and business dealings while she ran for office.

"The Attorney General made each of these statements, not after having had an opportunity to actually look at the facts, but BEFORE she was even elected, BEFORE she had even seen a shred of evidence," he said. "This is something that happens in failed third world countries, not the United States."

"If you can run for a prosecutor's office pledging to take out your enemies, and be elected to that job by partisan voters who wish to enact political retribution, then we are no longer a free constitutional democracy," Trump, who frequently called for the prosecution and imprisonment of his political opponents while in office, added.

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