Court hearing suggests her company’s NY probe is expanding – Mother Jones

Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan on August 22, 2021.James Devaney / GC Images

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Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s namesake company appears to be resuming, and one or more other Trump associates may soon be in legal jeopardy due to a document cache recently discovered by investigators.

Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, who has been indicted on tax charges, will likely be on trial next summer, but according to Weisselberg’s lawyer he may not be the only member of the inner circle of Trump to face criminal charges. In a brief planning hearing at the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan on Monday morning, Bryan Skarlatos, an attorney representing Weisselberg, said his team needed significantly longer to start going through 6 million pages of documents. of discovery handed over by Vance’s office and that he expected more indictments in this case.

“We have good reason to believe that there may be more indictments to come,” Skarlatos told the judge, holding youpa package of documents. “He was represented to us by the [district attorney’s office] that this package includes documents found in a co-conspirator’s basement that are tax documents.

A spokesperson for Vance’s office declined to comment.

Manhattan prosecutors should ask Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, to help them unravel these newly seized documents, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation. Cohen has meet regularly with prosecutors working for Vance and helped them understand the inner workings of the Trump Organization. His new involvement would be another signal that the Manhattan DA is stepping up its investigation.

Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, said Cohen “continues to cooperate with the prosecutor’s office in New York with the ongoing investigation” and pointed out that Cohen did so voluntarily without receiving or asking for ‘assignment. Davis declined to comment further on the details of Cohen’s cooperation. Cohen also declined to comment.

Vance indicted Weisselberg earlier this summer with 15 counts of participating in a scheme organized by the Trump Organization to help avoid taxes by cutting his salary while rewarding him with perks, including an apartment for which he didn’t have to pay rent; the use of luxury cars; and tuition fees for her grandson’s private school. According to an indictment filed by Vance’s office – which also accused the Trump organization itself – the former president’s company kept two sets of books. One showed Weisselberg’s actual pay, including these benefits; the other, which was used to prepare taxes, showed a much smaller amount ostensibly representing his salary.

Vance’s office has so far stopped throwing legal responsibility on Trump himself. But prosecutors in the case have made it clear that they believe the scheme to avoid paying taxes has gone to the top of the organization and that Weisselberg was not the only one benefiting from it.

“As stated in the indictment, this was a 15-year tax evasion scheme involving unaccounted for payments,” said Carey Dunne, assistant district attorney for Manhattan, during Weisselberg’s arraignment. in July. “This is not ‘standard business practice’, nor the act of a rogue or isolated employee. Instead, it was orchestrated by senior executives, who benefited financially, as well as the company, by securing covert pay increases at the expense of state and federal taxpayers. “

The indictment against Weisselberg also notes that Trump personally signed some of the checks that prosecutors claim were part of the alleged tax evasion scheme.

Following the indictments against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization in July, legal experts were divided over whether the charges meant Vance’s investigation had run out of steam. These indictments, said several jurists Mother Jones, suggested that Vance’s office concluded that it was not going to get Weisselberg, who worked as Trump’s accountant for decades, to cooperate. But this new influx of documents and the revelation that some of the material came from a raid by a possible co-conspirator seems to show that Vance’s team is still digging.

On Monday, Skarlatos said this new trove of documents required more time for his team to review everything investigators had collected. The judge in the case partially agreed and set deadlines in early 2022 for initial preliminary filings, indicating a trial date of late August 2022 for Weisselberg.

Weisselberg apparently refused to testify against his boss – he remains employed by the Trump Organization – even though Vance brought in his adult son Barry Weisselberg, who worked for Trump in running the Wollman Rink in Central Park, and brought him in. when asked about the benefits he received from the company.

Vance also reportedly focused on Matthew Calamari Sr., another senior member of Trump’s entourage. Calamari has been employed by Trump for more than four decades, moving from personal bodyguard to his current role as director of corporate security. Like Weisselberg’s son, Calamari’s adult son, Matthew Calamari Jr., also worked for the Trump Organization and earlier this month was called to testify before Vance’s grand jury.

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