Listen

News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV

member station

NPR
National

The Trump Organization Is Back In Court To Fight Tax Fraud Charges In New York

1037181841_2069567130.jpg

Allen Weisselberg (center), the longtime chief financial officer of former President Donald Trump's family business, stands behind Trump and Donald Trump Jr. during a 2017 news conference at Trump Tower in New York City.
Evan Vucci, AP

Allen Weisselberg (center), the longtime chief financial officer of former President Donald Trump's family business, stands behind Trump and Donald Trump Jr. during a 2017 news conference at Trump Tower in New York City.

Updated September 20, 2021 at 10:13 AM ET

With multiple investigations still underway, attorneys involved with the tax fraud case against former President Donald Trump's family business and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, returned to court Monday for a hearing in New York City.

Their appearance at the New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan came almost three months after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. unsealed a bevy of criminal charges that alleged the Trump Organization and Weisselberg took part in a more than 15-year scheme to defraud taxpayers by paying company executives with untaxed benefits.

The Trump Organization and Weisselberg, who has been employed by the Trump family since 1973, have pleaded not guilty to the allegations. The former president has said the case is politically motivated.

Behind the scenes, and while proceedings play out in court, prosecutors with Vance's office have been continuing to work with New York state Attorney General Letitia James' office on an ongoing probe into Trump's business dealings in New York. There are plenty of signs that Vance and James are aggressively working on this case, including an unannounced court appearance in August by attorneys for both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization.

Support comes from

"The fact that they are having sealed proceedings is consistent with an ongoing grand jury investigation and suggests the district attorney may be considering further charges or defendants," said Adam Kaufmann, a former investigations division chief at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office who is currently a partner with the law firm Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss.

In August, Matthew Calamari Jr. — the Trump Organization's corporate director of security and son of the chief operating officer, Matthew Calamari Sr. — testified before a grand jury, Nicholas Gravante Jr., an attorney for both father and son, confirmed in a statement. Grand jury witnesses, according to New York state law, generally cannot be prosecuted for what they said.

"He is a model citizen, has never violated any law, and is glad to have the distraction behind him," Gravante said of Calamari Jr.

Vance's investigation started in 2018 around the time Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges related to payments of hush money to women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.

The Trump Organization may also ultimately face civil charges as part of a related investigation James' office launched in 2019 after Cohen told Congress that Trump manipulated the value of his properties to obtain bank loans and lower his tax obligations.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for.  If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.