Early Thursday morning, Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, surrendered to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Weisselberg was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday, and is reportedly being charged with evading taxes that should have been paid on non-salary benefits he received. The Trump business entity itself is also expected to be criminally charged over related matters.
The Manhattan inquiry is, roughly speaking, the one millionth legal investigation of Donald Trump that has been launched since he ran for the presidency in 2016. Many have found that Trump and his children engaged in illegal or egregiously corrupt behavior, from the deployment of high-pressure sales tactics to sell useless “university” courses to the misuse of charitable donations to the misuse of the entire United States government to try to convince voters that Hunter Biden did something real messed-up involving Ukrainian natural gas.
None of these investigations, although they did probably contribute to Trump losing the 2020 election, have succeeded in directly making him pay a price beyond relatively small financial settlements. And while tax evasion is a significant issue in the aggregate, it would be anticlimactic if these charges, against someone who doesn’t have the last name Trump, were the only result of the investigation led by outgoing Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance, which involved a long legal fight to access the elder Trump’s personal financial records. (That fight was ultimately decided in Vance’s favor by the Supreme Court.)
None of the reporters following Vance’s investigation, though, have reported any indication that Trump (or one of his children) are close to being charged with anything, although multiple outlets have said that prosecutors are at least looking into the possibility that Trump intentionally submitted inaccurate property valuations in order to avoid paying taxes. The D.A’s team reportedly targeted Weisselberg in hopes that he would “flip” and testify to Trump’s involvement in more high-stakes fraud, but he has not yet agreed to do so. And of the high-profile associates and advisers who have taken falls for Trump that resulted in criminal charges, convictions, or prison time—a list that includes Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen, 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, and political operative Roger Stone—only Cohen has ultimately turned on his boss. (Manafort said he would, but then didn’t.)
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