Trump Organization official who reportedly testified for prosecutors previously said Trump misused charity funds

donald trump outside trump tower in nyc
Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 18, 2021 in New York City.

A high-ranking Trump Organization official gave testimony in 2017 that detailed how ex-President Donald Trump misused funds, according to a transcript of the deposition obtained by The Daily Beast.

That same employee, Jeff McConney, also reportedly testified before a Manhattan grand jury this year as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances.

Earlier this month, Manhattan prosecutors announced a 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg, alleging they took part in a yearslong tax evasion scheme. Both the company and Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The indictment did not include any charges related to the company’s or Trump’s personal charity work. But McConney’s testimony could inform future charges brought in the investigation.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is working with the New York Attorney General’s Office, which took McConney’s 2017 deposition as part of a civil lawsuit against the Trump Foundation.

Read more: Trump and his advisors are shrugging off DOJ’s Capitol riot probe. But they see danger in the Georgia and New York investigations.

McConney is the Trump Organization’s controller and plays the role of Weisselberg’s second-in-command, according to people familiar with the company’s inner workings. In the 2017 deposition reviewed by the Daily Beast, McConney said Trump acted wrongfully in using more than $250,000 in donor funds to settle personal legal problems.

“I probably didn’t know at that time that we probably shouldn’t be using foundation funds for this type of thing… we made a mistake,” McConney told an investigator, as quoted by The Daily Beast.

McConney also addressed Trump’s donation to a PAC supporting former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who declined to pursue an investigation into the scandal-ridden and now-defunct Trump University. The donation was not initially reported to the IRS.

“We found out we made the contribution to… a political organization as opposed to a charitable organization,” McConney said, as quoted by The Daily Beast. He added: “Anything and everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, with this one request.”

Bondi later became a staunch supporter of Trump during his presidency, defending him in his 2020 impeachment trial and pushing numerous voter fraud conspiracy theories.

The Trump Foundation settled the civil lawsuit with the New York Attorney General’s office in 2019, paying $2 million in restitution before dissolving. As part of the settlement, Trump and his children Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., have all been barred from sitting on the board of New York state charities.

ABC News reported that McConney testified for the Manhattan grand jury in June. The grand jury is expected to last through at least November, and is reportedly examining whether employees of the Trump Organization took perks without paying the appropriate taxes on them; whether the company misrepresented property values for favorable tax, loan, and insurance rates; and if it broke state laws by facilitating a hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The investigation appears to be focused on “flipping” Weisselberg into cooperating with prosecutors. The CFO has worked for the Trump Organization for 40 years, and has a vast knowledge of the company’s and the Trump family’s finances.

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Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg worried about prosecutors getting his financial documents in 2018, ex-daughter-in-law says

Jennifer Weisselberg
Trump Organization CFO’s ex-daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg carries boxes of documents and a laptop giving to prosecutors outside her apartment in Manhattan, New York on April 8, 2021.

  • Allen Weisselberg took steps to avoid showing pay stubs as federal prosecutors investigated Michael Cohen, his ex-daughter-in-law says.
  • He struck an unusual rental agreement that’s now leading to her eviction, Jennifer Weisselberg said.
  • The Trump Organization CFO is now a key figure in the Manhattan DA’s probe of the company.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg took measures to keep his financial documents from prosecutors examining the company’s practices as far back as 2018, according to his former daughter-in-law.

In a series of interviews with Insider, Jennifer Weisselberg described in detail how the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, who is reportedly a target in the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into the company, made an unusual housing arrangement for her as she divorced his son, Barry. The arrangement allowed Allen Weisselberg to act as a guarantor on an Upper West Side apartment without showing any proof of income, she said.

Complications from that arrangement arose in recent weeks, as court records show her landlord is trying to evict her – a measure she claims is retaliation for her cooperation with prosecutors.

Allen Weisselberg’s arrangement has allowed her to live in an apartment building managed by one of his friends in the real estate business, she said. The friend, real estate mogul Lawrence Gluck, permitted her to live in the unit without requiring her or Allen Weisselberg to show any proof of income, she said.

Rental agreements typically require tenants and guarantors to show pay stubs or tax forms demonstrating income of at least 40 times the monthly rent amount. Jennifer Weisselberg said the arrangement allowed Allen Weisselberg to avoid showing pay stubs from the Trump Organization.

She also said she preferred to live in a different apartment building, but Allen Weisselberg forced her to live in that location because of Gluck’s closeness to himself and to now-former president Donald Trump.

“I found several other apartments,” Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider. “And he said, ‘No, you’re going to have to move. I called Larry Gluck, and because Donald and Larry and I have a long history of doing real estate together for decades. He’s going to allow me to be the guarantor without having to show any actual financial documents.'”

Allen Weisselberg took the measures to ensure no one would see Trump Organization payroll documents, she said.

An attorney for Allen Weisselberg declined to comment.

It’s “highly unusual” for a landlord to agree not to scrutinize a tenant and guarantor’s income to rent out an apartment, according to Samuel Himmelstein, a New York City-based tenant’s rights lawyer.

“I’ve never seen a situation where the landlord didn’t scrutinize the income of the guarantor in that situation,” Himmelstein said. “Because then he’d potentially have two people who weren’t able to cover the rent.”

The Trump Organization CFO was worried about federal prosecutors, according to Jennifer Weisselberg

Jennifer Weisselberg said the rental agreement was struck at a time when federal prosecutors in Manhattan were investigating Michael Cohen, who at the time was a Trump Organization executive and personal lawyer for Donald Trump.

The lease agreement was signed in October 2018 and has been renewed since then, contracts reviewed by Insider show.

Earlier that year, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York raided Cohen’s office. Prosecutors ultimately secured a guilty plea on charges of tax evasion and campaign finance violations for a plot that involved Cohen using Trump Organization funds to pay off and silence Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who said she had an affair with Trump. Trump was openly furious about the investigation and Cohen’s plea agreement.

Allen Weisselberg was worried about becoming ensnared in the investigation himself, his former daughter-in-law said.

“It’s because he didn’t want to share financials during the SDNY investigation,” Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider. “He doesn’t want them out there.”

michael cohen trump tower elevator
Michael Cohen in Trump Tower in 2016.

In sentencing memos filed that December, federal prosecutors made clear that Cohen acted at Trump’s direction. As president of the United States, Trump was immune from federal prosecution at the time. Since Trump left office in February of this year, neither federal prosecutors in Manhattan or any other division of the Justice Department have given any public indication that they seek to charge him in the case, as Insider’s C. Ryan Barber and Warren Rojas previously reported.

While federal prosecutors may be leaving the Trump Organization alone, Cohen’s comments and public testimony about how the Trump Organization handles its finances sparked multiple state-level investigations in New York.

Allen Weisselberg is now a key figure in those investigations. Prosecutors are seeking his cooperation and reportedly examining whether he should be charged with criminal conduct.

Allen Weisselberg is a key figure in Trump investigations in New York

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is in the end stages of an investigation into whether the company and Trump himself distorted property valuations in order to reap tax, loan, and insurance benefits. Those acts could lead to charges for tax, wire, and insurance fraud, legal experts say.

That investigation is running in tandem with a probe in the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, which is examining many of the same issues. Vance’s office has empaneled a special grand jury and earlier this month reportedly heard testimony from Trump Organization controller Jeff McConney, who is said to work closely with Allen Weisselberg.

Allen Weisselberg has worked with the Trump family for more than 40 years, overseeing their personal finances in addition to his role as the Trump Organization’s CFO. Prosecutors have been seeking his cooperation to help guide them through the possibly hundreds of thousands of pages of financial documents they already subpoenaed from the company.

donald trump jr allen weisselberg
Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump Jr. in 2017.

Jennifer Weisselberg has been cooperating with investigators from both offices since last fall. She’s given interviews with investigators several times, she said, and handed over “several boxes of documents” stemming from her divorce, which include financial documents related to the Trump Organization. She told Insider that prosecutors have asked her about how the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg operate, and have pressured family members in order to get Weisselberg to “flip.”

It’s not clear whether Allen Weisselberg has already agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, and whether he has been asked to testify in front of the grand jury. Prosecutors typically strive to secure a cooperation agreement with witnesses before calling them before a grand jury, so that the witnesses don’t receive immunity for their testimony.

Jennifer Weisselberg says her former father-in-law is behind an effort to evict her

The legal complications stemming from Jennifer and Allen Weisselberg’s unusual rent agreement have reached a new phase in recent weeks.

In early 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic struck, Jennifer Weisselberg said she lost her job managing musical theater acts and fell behind on rent payments for the apartment.

In November, Columbus Manor LLC, the entity that owns the Upper West Side apartment building, sued Jennifer and Allen Weisselberg and alleged they owed $54,450 in unpaid rent that had accrued since February 2020. The company is owned by Stellar Management, which is run by Lawrence Gluck.

Columbia Manor LLC withdrew the lawsuit on April 29, without Allen or Jennifer Weisselberg filing a response in court, records reviewed by Insider show. CBS News first reported on the existence of the lawsuit.

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider that in April, her building manager told her that her back pay was “made whole.” She said the manager, Trevor Matwey, said the back pay was made by a law firm directly through Stellar Management and he could not produce a receipt for her. She told Insider that she believed Allen Weisselberg made the payment.

“They won’t show me proof that it’s been paid,” Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider. “Trevor Matwey in the management office said, ‘Jenn, you’re good to go. All of the back pay has been worked out. You’re good. You don’t owe anything.'”

After the lawsuit was withdrawn and believing her rent had been paid, she said she signed papers to renew her lease for May. But on May 18, Columbus Manor LLC filed a new lawsuit, naming only Jennifer Weisselberg as the defendant. The new lawsuit claimed that her lease expired on April 30, that “no renewal is required” for the lease, and that she should be evicted.

Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider that, because she believes the rent has been made whole, she should not be evicted from her apartment. She believes Allen Weisselberg is behind the eviction lawsuit from Stellar Management because she has cooperated with the investigations into the Trump Organization and spoken to the media about it.

jennifer weisselberg manhattan da investigator
A DA investigator carries boxes of documents and a laptop from Jennifer Weisselberg outside her apartment in Manhattan, New York on April 8, 2021.

The new lawsuit says that Jennifer Weisselberg should further owe the real estate company the agreed-upon $6,050 monthly rent for the apartment until she leaves the premises. It does not mention the $54,450 the company previously said she owed.

Columbia Manor LLC is seeking to evict Jennifer Weisselberg through an ejection order in New York state court. Himmelstein told Insider that landlords rarely file for eviction through that mechanism without also seeking back rent.

“Typically, the landlords seek possession of the apartment and they also seek the back rent,” Himmelstein said. “So is it unusual that they didn’t also sue for the back rent? Yes, that’s unusual.”

A representative for Gluck and Stellar Management said they would not comment on an individual tenant’s financial situation. Kevin Cullen, the attorney leading the eviction litigation against Jennifer Weisselberg, declined to comment. Matwey didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider that she expects to be able to remain in her apartment for now because of New York state’s eviction moratorium, which runs through September. She expects she’ll owe thousands of dollars more in legal fees to fight the lawsuit.

allen weisselberg mike pence and donald trump in trump tower 2017
Allen Weisselberg, Mike Pence, and Donald Trump in Trump Tower in 2017.

She said she has already liquidated part of her 401(k) to pay for ongoing civil litigation with her ex-husband over matrimonial disputes, which she believes Allen Weisselberg controls and finances. The attorney representing Barry Weisselberg in the case didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Jennifer Weisselberg said that the eviction is yet another way her former father-in-law has exerted control over her – and Barry’s – lives. In earlier interviews with Insider, she described how the Trump Organization arranged for the couple to receive perks like apartments and tuition payments in lieu of a regular salary to avoid taxes and influence their decisions.

“It’s so controlling,” she told Insider in March. “Because if you want to leave and make the same money – you live there. If you want to leave, where are you going to live?”

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Kodak’s CEO engaged in insider trading when he purchased stock in the company while negotiating with the White House for a $655 million loan, NY AG says

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James said Kodak CEO Jim Continenza engaged in insider trading last summer when he purchased 46,737 shares of the company.
  • The CEO made the purchase while he was leading secret discussions with the White House for a loan, James said. Public news of the loan sent the stock soaring.
  • Kodak said Continenza was not in possession of material non-public information, and he has never sold a share.
  • Sign up here our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

The CEO of Kodak unlawfully traded stock in the company while negotiating a confidential $655 million loan with the White House in the beginning of the pandemic, New York Attorney General Letitia James said this week.

The AG said she filed a petition with the New York County State Supreme Court to have Kodak CEO Jim Continenza publicly testify about his purchase of 46,737 shares of Kodak early last summer.

Continenza made the purchase while he was leading secret discussions with the Trump White House and the federal government for a $655 million loan to enable Kodak to repurpose assets to purchase chemicals that would make COVID-19 medicines, James said.

“Just over a month after Continenza’s stock purchase, Kodak signed a public letter of interest with the federal government for the loan – which by then had grown to $765 million – causing Kodak stock to soar,” said James. “The day after the news was announced, Kodak’s stock price reached a high of $60 per share – more than 27 times what Continenza had paid for the stock mere weeks earlier. “

Kodak shares spiked as much as 2,190% in the two days after the loan announcement on July 28. Kodak also gained as much as 26% the day before information about the loan was made public.

In a public response to James, Kodak said Continenza was not in possession of material non-public information and his stock purchase was pre-approved by Kodak’s General Counsel in accordance with Kodak’s insider trading policy. The CEO has purchased Kodak stock in “virtually every open window period and has never sold a single share,” the company said.

“In addition to being wrong on the facts, the Attorney General’s novel and highly problematic legal theory that seeks to impose liability in the absence of intent would have a chilling effect on directors and executives of every public company, who could never invest in their own companies without fear of having good-faith decisions, pre-approved by counsel, second-guessed by regulators and charged as insider trading,” said Kodak.

However, James said that Continenza’s trading wasn’t in compliance with the policy.

“Kodak’s insider trading policy requires pre-clearance to be sought by email at least one day prior to the trading and for the requester to ‘receive’ a ‘response’ approving the trading – neither of which occurred,” the AG said.

Kodak disclosed James’ threatened lawsuit last month. James is the latest to investigate the Kodak loan. The US international Development Finance Corp reviewed the loan in 2020 but found no wrongdoing, according to the Wall Street Journal. The SEC also opened an investigation last summer that is ongoing, according to Kodak’s filings.

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Fake property evaluations and pressuring officials to ‘find’ votes: All the evidence piling up in the criminal probes of Trump

trump troubled
Donald Trump in September.

  • Investigations into Donald Trump’s finances and conduct in office may soon result in criminal charges.
  • New York prosecutors are investigating his taxes, and Georgia prosecutors his election influence.
  • Trump also faces legal risks from the January 6 Capitol riot and Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine meddling.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Criminal probes into former President Donald Trump are heating up. The signs are everywhere.

Prosecutors from New York to Georgia are scrutinizing Trump’s conduct before he took office, as well as actions he took as president.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. empaneled a grand jury that will reportedly be used for an investigation into whether Trump fudged his personal and company finances. The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James said its own investigation is now criminal in nature, and that it’s joining forces with Vance.

Trump reportedly faces two more grand jury investigations into whether he illegally pressured Georgia officials to rig the 2020 election results.

In addition, criminal investigations are underway into the insurrection at the US Capitol and Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine to dig up dirt on Trump’s 2020 presidential election rival, Joe Biden. Both present potential legal risks for Trump, although there’s no evidence those prosecutors are currently targeting him.

Trump has dismissed all allegations against him – in the criminal probes as well as a litany of civil ones – as politically motivated.

Here’s a rundown of the evidence that’s been made public in each case so far, as well as clues to where the prosecution is headed.

Fudging finances

What did Trump do?

According to former Trump Organization executive Michael Cohen, the Trump Organization has maintained two sets of books when it comes to the company’s finances. One depicts a rosy financial portrait, with inflated property valuations, for favorable loan and insurance rates; another shows great debts and low property valuations, Cohen has said, in order to pay little or nothing in taxes.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and New York state Attorney General’s office appear to be examining whether Trump, the Trump Organization, or company executives broke state tax laws by misrepresenting the company’s finances. The offices are working with each other, and the precise scope of each investigation remains unclear – for example, Vance also may be examining whether Trump broke campaign finance laws when he asked Cohen to pay porn star Stormy Daniels with Trump Organization funds to keep quiet about their alleged affair.

Jennifer Weisselberg, a cooperating witness in both investigations, has told Insider that Trump kept a grip on his executives’ lives by giving them elaborate perks, like paying for apartments and their kids’ tuition, to ensure their loyalty. Those perks also may have run afoul of tax laws.

What have prosecutors done so far?

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Vance’s office has empaneled a grand jury that will hear evidence and weigh charges for its investigation. The news followed an announcement from James’s office that its own investigation was criminal in nature.

Vance’s office has also secured landmark Supreme Court victories that gave it access to reams of financial documents, including tax returns.

Other recent moves from New York prosecutors appear to be focused on “flipping” Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer and personal bookkeeper of the Trump family. Weisselberg and his family members are being scrutinized in the probe, Jennifer Weisselberg, who is his former daughter-in-law, told Insider.

As the most knowledgeable person about Trump’s finances, Allen Weisselberg could guide prosecutors and a jury through the documents in Vance’s possession if he cooperates.

Pressuring officials to manipulate election results

What did Trump do?

On January 2, two months after Trump already lost the 2020 presidential election, including the electoral college votes in Georgia, Trump called Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top election official.

In the call, Trump falsely said he was the true winner of the election, that thousands of dead people voted, and spouted various other conspiracy theories about how the election was conducted. Trump told Raffensperger to “look very carefully” at shredded ballots, something that did not happen, said he wanted to “find 11,780 votes” and that Raffensperger should “work out on these numbers” and “come to a resolution.”

Brad Raffensperger
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

In a separate phone call in December with Frances Watson, the lead elections investigator in Raffensperger’s office, Trump also leveled false accusations about Georgia’s election process and told her that “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.”

What have prosecutors done so far?

Fanni Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, is examining whether Trump’s calls amounted to an illegal attempt to manipulate election results.

In a letter to state election officials, Willis said her investigation will assess “potential violations of Georgia election law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local government bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office, and any involvement in violence of threats related to the election’s administration.”

In April, a local Fox affiliate reported that Willis was seeking subpoenas for her investigation through a grand jury.

Raffensperger is also conducting a separate, administrative investigation into Trump’s attempts to influence the election results in his state.

Telling supporters to ‘fight like hell’ ahead of the Capitol riot

What did Trump do?

Ahead of the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, Trump held a rally where he urged his supporters to “fight like hell” and “show strength” in reaction to members of Congress certifying the 2020 election results.

He told his supporters they were “allowed to go by very different rules” based on the false premise that the election was rigged.

GettyImages donald trump
President Donald Trump greets the crowd at the “Stop The Steal” Rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Trump’s speech led to his second impeachment in the House of Representatives, but 57 US senators voted to convict him, short of the two-thirds majority threshold needed.

What have prosecutors done so far?

Federal prosecutors already have arrested and charged more than 400 people they allege were involved in the riot.

Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine said his office was examining whether Trump could be charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly encouraging violence.

Legal experts say chances of success for such charges are unlikely, however.

Federal prosecutors in DC haven’t ruled out prosecuting Trump for his speech, but there’s been no evidence of an active investigation into his conduct.

Seeking to influence US policy from Ukraine

What did Trump do?

In 2018, Rudy Giuliani, then serving as Trump’s personal lawyer, trekked around Ukraine in a failed attempt to dig up dirt about now-President Joe Biden.

Part of his efforts involved the ouster of Marie Yovanovitch, the US’s former ambassador to Ukraine, who Giuliani appeared to believe stood in the way of Ukraine launching an investigation into Biden ahead of the 2020 election.

Trump’s own related efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Biden ahead of the 2020 election including a call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – led to his first impeachment, where the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him.

At the time, Trump denied all wrongdoing regarding his attempts to pressure Ukraine’s president into investigating Biden.

Giuliani Trump
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump in September.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Giuliani’s conduct and have seized electronic communications from him. They may be examining whether his Ukraine meddling was done at Trump’s behest, though there’s no public indication that Trump himself is a subject of the probe.

What have prosecutors done so far?

The investigation into Giuliani stems from a separate case regarding two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who prosecutors say participated in illegal election finance schemes and tried to influence US-Ukraine relations.

In April, FBI agents raided Giuliani’s apartment and office and served a search warrant at the home of Victoria Toensing, another lawyer and Trump ally.

The exact scope of the investigation remains unclear, but prosecutors appear to be looking into whether Giuliani’s meddling in Ukraine amounts to a violation of foreign lobbying laws.

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Jennifer Weisselberg says the Trump Org. CFO, her former father-in-law, will flip on Trump in New York investigations

allen weisselberg donald trump
Allen Weisselberg, center, stands between President-elect Donald Trump, left, and Donald Trump Jr., at a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Jan. 11, 2017.

  • Jennifer Weisselberg said Allen Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump Organization, will flip on Trump.
  • She is Allen Weisselberg’s ex-daughter-in-law, and was married to his son Barry.
  • Jennifer Weisselberg has also been cooperating with prosecutors who are investigating Trump.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Jennifer Weisselberg said Allen Weisselberg, her former father-in-law and the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, will flip on Donald Trump.

Weisselberg was speaking to CNN Thursday about the New York investigations into the Trump Organization and the former president. Interviewer Erin Burnett asked her directly: “Will Allen Weisselberg flip on Trump?”

She responded with a simple “yes,” prompting Burnett to note there was “no hesitation” with her answer.

Read more: Meet Donald Trump’s next nemeses: The 15 prosecutors and investigators from New York who are primed to pepper the ex-president with history-making civil and criminal probes

Weisselberg was married to Allen Weisselberg’s son, Barry Weisselberg, from 2014 to 2018. Trump and his wife attended their wedding and Weisselberg was also present at Trump’s inauguration. Since September she has been cooperating with prosecutors who are investigating Trump’s finances, and has turned over several boxes of documents and a laptop.

Trump is under two investigations in New York. The New York attorney general’s office announced Tuesday it is investigating the Trump Organization “in a criminal capacity,” as opposed to a civil one. The Manhattan district attorney’s office is also conducting a criminal investigation into whether the Trump Organization committed tax and insurance fraud, among other crimes.

Both offices are also looking into the taxes and personal finances of Allen Weisselberg with the hopes of gaining leverage that could convince him to cooperate with prosecutors in the Trump investigations, CNN reported Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, said that he believes Trump will be the one to turn on everyone else involved in the investigations into the Trump Organization, including his own children.

Weisselberg also told Burnett that while attending Trump’s inauguration in 2017 it felt “dangerous” for him to become president.

“The amount of power given to a president – I just think it’s irresponsible to give somebody who is self-serving and narcissistic that much power when it’s inevitably always to benefit themselves,” she said.

When asked why she is cooperating with prosecutors now, Weisselberg said it’s because “it’s so horrifying that Donald Trump could be president again, knowing what I know.”

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Top Mueller prosecutor says New York investigators are likely examining if the Trump Organization falsified tax records

Andrew Weissmann
Andrew Weissmann speaking to MSNBC on May 19, 2021.

  • Former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann analyzed the investigations into the Trump Organization.
  • He said investigators were likely focused on the possible falsification of business records.
  • New York AG Letitia James this week announced a criminal investigation into the company.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Andrew Weissmann, who served as a top prosecutor on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, has said that authorities probing the Trump Organization are likely focusing on whether business records were falsified.

In an Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Weissmann discussed the Tuesday announcement by the New York Attorney General that its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s businesses was now criminal in nature.

The interview also followed reports that the New York Attorney General had opened a criminal tax investigation into Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.

CNN reported that the New York AG was looking into Weisselberg’s personal taxes, while the Manhattan District Attorney was focusing on his work at the Trump Organization, both in an attempt to find leverage that could convince him to cooperate with prosecutors.

“Allen Weisselberg is clearly in the sights of the Manhattan office and the New York attorney general because they clearly want him to flip,” Weissmann said Wednesday.

“So getting him [Weisselberg] to flip is important,” continued Weissmann, adding that the former CFO “faces two types of liability. He faces liability for the work he did as part of the Trump Organization, but also he could face liability with respect to his own personal taxes.”

“And, of course, there has been reporting of him receiving or being the beneficiary of substantial sums to pay for school tuition,” Weissmann said, referring to reports that investigators were examining whether Weisselberg or his family’s tuition payments allowed him to avoid paying taxes.

“And the issue is going to be how is that reported by the Trump Organization? How is that reported by Allen Weisselberg? How was it reported by others, and did they do the right thing?”

Weissmann then discussed the specific legal instruments prosecutors could use in the investigation.

“There is a tax statute and a false-statements statute in New York law that is quite broad and makes it a crime to submit falsified or have falsified business records, particularly if you’re doing that in aid of another crime,” he said.

“So, for example, if you have false Trump Organization business records and you’re doing that to aid in either a federal or state tax scheme, you can be charged with that very broad false-statements charge under New York law, and that is a felony.”

Weisselberg was the finance chief at the Trump Organization for 40 years, and has not formally been accused of any wrongdoing. Insider has contacted Weisselberg’s attorney for comment.

If the investigations resulted in criminal charges, Weissmann said he thinks Trump would likely say “that he was not aware of certain facts and certain valuations and blame underlings.”

The Trump family has claimed that the investigations were politically motivated and have denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

Weissmann served as a lead prosecutor on the Mueller investigation that wound up in 2019 declining to reach a judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice, and finding there was insufficient evidence to bring conspiracy charges against Trump. It also resulted in charges being filed against 34 people.

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Michael Cohen said he believes Trump will ‘flip on all of them,’ including his children, in the New York investigation into his company

Michael Cohen and Donald Trump
Michael Cohen and Donald Trump.

  • Michael Cohen said he believes Trump will “flip” on everyone as NY investigators probe his company.
  • The state attorney general and Manhattan district attorney’s office are conducting a criminal inquiry into the Trump Organization.
  • “I think Donald Trump is going to flip on all of them, including his children,” Cohen told MSNBC’s Joy Reid.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Donald Trump’s former longtime lawyer and fixer said Wednesday that he believes the former president will “flip” on everyone, including his own family members, as New York investigators tighten the screws on the Trump Organization.

Michael Cohen’s comments came after a spokesperson for New York attorney general Tish James said in a statement that James’ office is now investigating the Trump Organization “in a criminal capacity,” as opposed to a civil probe. James will join forces with the Manhattan district attorney’s office – which is conducting its own separate inquiry into the Trump Organization – in the matter.

Speaking to MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Cohen said he believes that while legal scholars and the public wonder whether investigators will be able to flip people close to Trump like his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the Trump Organization’s CFO Allen Weisselberg, Trump himself will ultimately be the one to switch sides.

“I think Donald Trump is going to flip on all of them, including his children,” he said, adding, “I really believe that Donald Trump cares for only himself and he realizes that his goose is cooked.”

Read more: Secret Service protection would follow Donald Trump if he goes to prison, former agents say

Cohen served as Trump’s personal lawyer for more than a decade before federal prosecutors zeroed in on him as part of an investigation into hush-money payments made to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump in the 2000s.

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to several felonies including wire fraud, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations that he said he carried out at Trump’s direction. He also pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.

He has since been cooperating with prosecutors in several ongoing investigations and has met multiple times this year with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose investigation into the Trump Organization began as a result of Cohen’s congressional testimony in 2019. Cohen, who is serving out a three-year prison sentence for his crimes, said his meetings with prosecutors in Vance’s office were “not good news” for Trump.

After CNN reported this week that the state attorney general’s investigation had taken on a criminal component, Cohen tweeted out an edited image of Trump behind bars.

“Soon enough, Donald and Associates will be held responsible for their actions,” he said.

During his MSNBC appearance Wednesday evening, Cohen said Trump will try to shift blame for any wrongdoing to everyone but himself, adding that the former president will blame Weisselberg, his accountant, his appraiser, and even his own children.

“This is the problem, it’s never ever Donald Trump. It’s always somebody else,” Cohen said.

A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

New York’s investigations into Trump are examining whether his sprawling real-estate company violated state laws when it facilitated an illegal hush-money payment to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election. According to earlier court filings, investigators suspect the Trump Organization committed tax and insurance fraud including, among other things, by artificially inflating and deflating the value of Trump’s assets for loan and tax purposes.

Weisselberg is said to be a key focus for investigators as they dig into Trump’s finances. And last month, the FBI raided the property of Trump’s most recent defense lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as part of a separate federal investigation into Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine.

Trump, for his part, released a lengthy statement Wednesday attacking the pair of New York investigations as partisan and politically motivated.

The 909-word statement is the longest one Trump has released since he was banned from social media and left office.

“This is something that happens in failed third world countries, not the United States,” the former president lamented.

“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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The New York Attorney General’s announcement about a ‘criminal’ Trump Organization probe could flip more witnesses

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Prosecutors in New York are examining the finances of former President Donald Trump.

  • The New York AG’s office said its investigation into the Trump Organization is criminal in nature.
  • The unusual announcement could help shake out more cooperating witnesses, legal experts say.
  • By working closely with the Manhattan DA, the NYAG signaled a low chance of legal turf fights.
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The New York Attorney General’s unusual announcement that its investigation into the Trump Organization is now criminal could be part of a strategy to shake loose more cooperating witnesses, according to legal experts.

Late Tuesday night, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office first told CNN that its investigation was being conducted “in a criminal capacity.”

The spokesperson also said prosecutors were working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which has so far been running its own separate investigation into former president Donald Trump’s and the Trump Organization’s finances.

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature,” Fabien Levy, New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s press secretary, told Insider. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.”

The statement struck legal observers as unusual.

The New York Attorney General’s and Manhattan District Attorney’s offices rarely make public comments about the progress of ongoing investigations – unless they’re highlighting some victory in court. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. commented on winning Supreme Court cases to subpoena Trump’s tax documents, and New York Attorney General Letitia James addressed the subpoena of Eric Trump. Both offices declined Insider’s requests for comment beyond Levy’s statement.

An attorney representing Jennifer Weisselberg, a cooperating witness in both investigations who was married to the son of the Trump Organization’s CFO, said he had already been in contact with attorneys from the criminal division of James’ office.

Duncan Levin told Insider the notion that James’ investigation was criminal in nature “did not come as news” to him, nor was it news that her attorneys were teaming up with Vance’s.

“They’ve told us previously that they’re coordinating their efforts with the DA’s office,” he said. “We understand that they’re in touch with each other and that they’re coordinating their investigations together. We’ve known that for a while.”

Shaking loose more cooperating witnesses

Prosecutors in both offices are said to be examining whether the former president or his company committed financial crimes by keeping two sets of books: one that presented a rosy portrait of finances to secure favorable insurance and loan terms, and another that showed more dire figures in order to evade taxes.

Jeff Robbins, a former attorney for the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, oversaw money-laundering probes as a federal prosecutor. He said the statement from James’ office was likely designed to “shake loose” more people in Trump’s orbit who could cooperate.

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Michael Cohen leaves federal court on Aug. 21, 2018, in New York.

Some potential witnesses or cooperators may have decided there was limited risk in ignoring prosecutors’ phone calls in a civil investigation; there’s a bigger risk if they don’t cooperate with a criminal investigation, he said.

“One possible calculation in making this announcement yesterday is to announce to those people: ‘You know what, the time for standing on the sidelines is over,'” Robbins, now the co-chair of the Congressional Investigations practice at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, told Insider.

High-profile people in Trump’s orbit already know that prosecutors have been seeking their cooperation. Michael Cohen, for example, has testified around a dozen times for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization CFO, appears to have rebuffed requests for cooperation.

But peripheral figures – former rank-and-file employees, tax preparers, insurance analysts, accountants – can still be helpful for prosecutors, according to Randy Zelin, a professor at Cornell Law School and white-collar criminal defense attorney at Wilk Auslander LLP. He said Tuesday’s announcement could bring them out of the shadows.

“The announcement is meant to do a couple of things, the most important of which just to continue to shake people up,” Zelin told Insider. “Anyone who in Trump’s orbit hearing that announcement is probably, aside from the sphincter tightening, they’re immediately on the phone with their lawyer.”

Robbing Trump and his company of a strategy to challenge potential charges

It’s not clear whether the Manhattan DA or New York AG will bring charges and, if they do, what those charges may be. Prosecutors could charge Trump personally; charge only the Trump Organization; charge certain executives; or they may not bring charges at all.

In a 909-word statement Wednesday, Trump derided the investigations as illegitimate and politically motivated.

The announcement of closer cooperation between the two offices could make it harder for Trump or the Trump Organization to evade litigation, however.

Defendants often try to dismiss or delay court proceedings based on jurisdictional issues. Vance’s office may have the authority to bring certain charges that James’s office doesn’t, and vice versa.

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Donald Trump boards the elevator in Trump Tower in 2017.

It’s common for defendants to argue the prosecutor who brought a case doesn’t have the authority to do so, and ask a judge to dismiss the case on those grounds. Prosecutors also sometimes try to take credit for major cases by claiming they have the sole authority to bring charges.

But the announcement that James’ office is working with Vance’s suggests they’ve worked out jurisdictional turfs between themselves, Zelin told Insider, making it less likely that Trump or his company can tie up their potential cases in the courts.

“There are times when there’s a clash of egos. And there are times when egos get put aside and there’s enough for everyone,” Zelin said. “I think here – when you’re talking about going after the former president of the United States, which in and of itself is going to be a daunting task – the agencies are very happy to say, OK, let’s divide and conquer here.”

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Michael Cohen tweeted a photoshopped picture of Trump behind bars after New York prosecutors announced a criminal investigation into Trump Organization

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A composite image of Michael Cohen and former President Donald Trump.

  • Michael Cohen tweeted a doctored image appearing to show his former boss, Donald Trump, in jail.
  • It was a response to the New York AG’s announcement that the Trump Org. faces a criminal probe.
  • Cohen is Trump’s former lawyer and fixer. He started cooperating with prosecutors in 2018.
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Michael Cohen tweeted a photoshopped picture showing his former boss, Donald Trump, peerint out from behind bars after the New York Attorney General’s office announced it was investigating the Trump Organization “in a criminal capacity.”

“As more documents are reviewed by the #NYAG and #NYDA, it appears that the troubles for Donald #Trump will keep on coming! Soon enough, Donald and Associates will be held responsible for their actions,” Cohen tweeted on Tuesday night.

Cohen previously served as Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, and started working with prosecutors to testify against Trump in 2018.

The Tuesday announcement from the New York Attorney General’s office compounds Trump’s legal woes.

The former president is already facing a criminal investigation from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who is reportedly looking into possible fraud and tax crimes at the Trump Organization, the umbrella company for Trump’s various businesses.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and claims that the investigations are politically motivated. Both James and Vance are Democrats.

The Washington Post reported, citing a source close to the investigation, that the two prosecutors’ offices are to work together in some respects in their investigations into the Trump Organization. The New York AG’s statement did not mention Vance’s office.

Cohen was once a member of Trump’s inner circle, and a trusted confidante.

However the relationship soured in 2017 after Cohen came under investigation for hush-money payments he paid to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, and for lying to Congress over Trump’s business dealings in Russia.

Cohen served a jail sentence for those crimes, and has become one of his Trump’s most critical former aides.

In 2018, he started cooperating with prosecutors who were investigating his work with Trump, and testified to Congress in 2019. He also wrote a book about his experience working for Trump, calling the former president a racist, a conman, and a tax cheat.

Prosecutors working for Vance’s office have interviewed Cohen about his time working for the Trump Organization. Cohen tweeted after those meetings that they did not spell good news for Trump.

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A Texas judge has thrown out the NRA’s bankruptcy case, clearing the way for New York’s attempts to dissolve the group

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National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • A Texas judge rejected the NRA’s attempt to go bankrupt, siding with New York state prosecutors.
  • Prosecutors said the bankruptcy filing was an attempt to squirm out of other litigation.
  • In August, the New York Attorney General’s office accused the NRA of corruption and negligent oversight.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Texas judge is throwing out the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy filing, saying that the case was filed in “bad faith” in an effort to avoid litigation in New York.

Judge Harlin Hale’s decision to throw out the case came after New York Attorney General Letitia James and others questioned the legitimacy of the bankruptcy filing. Law 360 first reported the ruling.

The NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 15 after James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the gun rights organization, alleging it abused its legal status as a nonprofit. In its August filing, New York prosecutors accused the group of corruption and said its longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre “instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight.”

While reports of financial troubles have dogged the NRA for years, its bankruptcy filings showed it was financially solvent and had assets worth roughly $50 million more than its debts. The organization tried to restructure in Texas, claiming New York had a corrupt regulatory environment.

Prosecutors for James’s office viewed the bankruptcy filing as an attempt to squirm out of the litigation. Hale’s decision sides with those prosecutors, effectively giving a green light to James’s office to continue its lawsuit.

“A judge has ruled in our favor and rejected the @NRA’s attempt to claim bankruptcy and reorganize in Texas,” James said in a tweet Tuesday. “The @NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions, and our case will continue in New York court. No one is above the law.”

In court hearings, attorneys for the NRA have accused James of waging a political campaign against the organization. Closely aligned with Republican politicians, the NRA rallies its members to thwart gun safety laws typically supported by Democratic politicians. Research consistently shows that strict gun laws reduce gun violence. The NRA’s attorneys said that Texas, controlled by Republicans, would offer a regulatory haven for the organization.

The Justice Department stepped into the dispute earlier in May, saying the “evidentiary record clearly and convincingly establishes” that LaPierre failed to provide proper oversight and manipulated personal expenses so that they looked like business expenses.

Hale’s ruling permits the NRA to file for bankruptcy again, but he said that he would likely appoint a trustee to oversee the group if it does rather than leave LaPierre in control of the organization’s finances.

LaPierre is dealing with several other headaches in addition to litigation from the New York Attorney General’s office. In October, the Wall Street Journal reported he was under IRS investigation for possible criminal tax fraud. And in April, the Trace and the New Yorker published footage of him struggling to kill an elephant. The NRA said the publication of the video was intended to embarrass him.

This article has been updated.

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