The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, are preparing to file criminal charges from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance as early as next week, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Trump Organization’s attorney was warned of potential charges related to its accounts of the fringe benefits during a nearly 90-minute Zoom meeting with prosecutors from Vance’s office and New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday, sources said.
Vance formed a special grand jury to hear evidence in late May, a sign that the years-long investigation had reached a critical stage. Under New York state law, prosecutors cannot charge a company with fraud without charging a senior executive considered responsible for the alleged activities.
Weisselberg’s ex-son-wife, Jennifer, told prosecutors about the so-called extra benefits offered by the Trump Organization, including rent-free apartments, school fees, luxury cars and other perks. She said such unofficial gifts were used to encourage loyalty and reduce taxes.
Jennifer was married to Allen’s son, Barry Weiselberg, who ran a Trump-run skating rink in Central Park.
“Things Weisselberg are imminent,” said one of the people briefed on the matter.
Donald Trump, eager for a return to politics and alluding to a White House bid in 2024, has repeatedly dismissed investigations by Vance and James, two New York Democrats, as a “partisan witch hunt.”
Mary Mulligan, Wesselberg’s attorney, declined to comment. Spokesmen for the Department of Defense in Manhattan and the attorney general in New York, who are working alongside the investigation, also declined to comment.
And Ronald Fichte, the attorney representing Trump, issued a scathing statement rejecting such accusations.
“In more than 50 years of practice, I have never seen a prosecutor’s office target a company for employee compensation or fringe benefits,” he said. “The IRS has never filed or brought a case like this one.”
During the meeting, Trump’s lawyers argued that the attorney general did not indict major Wall Street banks after the 2008 financial crisis, rendering a case against the former president unwarranted, according to one of the people briefed on the Zoom call.
Vance opened his investigation in 2018, after reports that a former aide to the president, Michael Cohen, had made “silent money” payments to women who claimed they had affairs with the then-presidential candidate. Cohen testified before Congress that he arranged with Weiselberg to recover Trump Organization funds listed as legal fees.
The investigation later evolved to look at potential bank and accounting fraud by the Trump Organization, including whether it inflated the values of certain properties to secure concessional bank loans while underestimating them for tax purposes.
Prosecutors have increased pressure in recent months on Weisselberg, who was hired by the former president’s father, Fred Trump, and described himself as the “eyes and ears” of the company.
Previous prosecutors say his cooperation could be vital in bringing a larger case against the company or Trump himself. Three of Trump’s adult sons – Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric – have also held executive positions at the company. But so far, Weiselberg has refused to cooperate, according to people familiar with the matter.