Trump lawyer says New York DA considering charges related to employee perks
An attorney representing former President Trump said Monday that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office told him it is currently considering charges against the Trump Organization and individual employees over allegedly not paying taxes on company benefits — but not on hush money allegations or potential fraud regarding property valuations at this time.
Speaking to Politico, New York attorney Ronald Fischetti said Vance’s team said in a meeting last week that it was not considering bringing charges against Trump himself when the first indictments are brought down.
“They just said, ‘When this indictment comes down, he won’t be charged. Our investigation is ongoing,’” Fischetti told Politico.
On Sunday it was reported by The Washington Post that New York prosecutors had given attorneys for the Trump Organization until Monday afternoon to provide an argument as to why the company should not face criminal charges.
Fischetti told Politico that he expects charges to come this week or next week.
“It’s like the Shakespeare play ‘Much Ado About Nothing,'” he said. “This is so small that I can’t believe I’m going to have to try a case like this.”
“We asked, ‘Is there anything else?’” Fischetti added. “They said, ‘No.’ It’s crazy that that’s all they had.”
Several high-ranking Trump Organization executives, including Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, are reportedly being investigated by Vance’s office over allegations that they failed to pay taxes on company-provided perks. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that investigators were looking into Matthew Calamari, an executive at the company as well as Trump’s former bodyguard.
Calamari and his son both live in Trump apartment buildings. A former employee of the Trump administration once described the apartment that Calamari’s son lives in as a corporate unit for which rent does not have to be paid.
Vance is working on the investigation with New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), whose office announced last month that the probe had expanded to a “criminal capacity.”
In addition to potential failures to pay taxes on company benefits, their teams are working to determine if the Trump Organization inflated or deflated the value of its properties to lenders, insurers and tax authorities. They are also examining alleged hush money payments made before Trump was elected president.
In a statement on Monday, Trump blasted what he called “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time.”
“After hundreds of subpoenas, over 3 million pages of documents, 4 years of searching, dozens and dozens of interviews, and millions of dollars of taxpayer funds wasted, they continue to be ‘in search of a crime’ and will do anything to frighten people into making up the stories or lies that they want, but have been totally unable to get,” the former president said.