Lawyers for former President Donald Trump’s business empire have been put on notice that they have until Monday afternoon to make final arguments as to why the Trump Organization should not face criminal charges.
The scoop comes from The Washington Post, which says the deadline is the strongest sign yet that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and NY State Attorney General Letitia James are preparing charges against the company. Vance and James’ offices are now working in tandem after spending several years running separate probes into Trump’s businesses.
Vance convened a grand jury to consider indictments earlier this year, but thus far, no charges have been filed, and it remains possible no charges will be filed.
From the Post:
Prosecutors have shown interest in whether Trump’s company used misleading valuations of its properties to deceive lenders and taxing authorities, and in whether taxes were paid on fringe benefits for company executives, according to court documents and people familiar with the investigations.
The two people familiar with the deadline set for Trump’s attorneys spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations. Under New York law, prosecutors may file charges against corporations in addition to individuals.
Last Thursday, lawyers working for Trump personally and for the Trump Organization met virtually with prosecutors to make the case that charges were not warranted. Meetings like these are common in financial investigations, allowing defense attorneys a chance to present evidence before prosecutors make a decision on whether to seek charges.
There was no comment from either the DA’s office or AG James’ office. Lawyers for the Trump Organization also declined comment, according to the Post.
Today’s development follows the move by the Trump Organization’s CFO Allen Weisselberg’s refusal to cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation.
Because of Weisselberg’s decision not to cooperate, prosecutors are going forward with a case against the company and potentially charging it as an entity. Sources say part of the case involves finding out if Trump himself knew about Weisselberg’s alleged use of cars, apartments and other compensation that prosecutors suspect was not reported properly to tax authorities.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and calls the investigation another “witch hunt.”
Here’s a must watch from MSNBC on the what charging the company would mean for the future of the Trump organization.