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Trump’s company, charges expected for top executive on Thursday


Donald Trump’s company and his longtime finance chief are expected to be charged Thursday with tax-related offenses stemming from a New York investigation into the former president’s business dealings, people familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.

The allegations against the Trump Organization and the company’s chief financial officer, Alan Weiselberg, include non-monetary benefits the company gave to top executives, possibly including the use of apartments, cars and school tuition.

People were not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation and did so on condition of anonymity. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that charges were expected on Thursday.

The charges against Weiselberg and the Trump Organization will be the first criminal cases to arise from a two-year investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat who leaves office at the end of the year.

Prosecutors are examining Trump’s tax records, summoning documents and interviewing witnesses, including Trump insiders and company officials.

A grand jury was recently enlisted to weigh the evidence and New York Attorney General Letitia James said she was hiring two of her lawyers to work with Vance on the criminal investigation while she was a citizen of Trump. The investigation continues.

Messages seeking comment were left with Trump Organization spokesman and lawyers. Messages were also left with lawyers for Wesselberg and other company executives. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.

A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Jason Miller, a former senior adviser to longtime Republicans, called the emerging allegations “politically terrible for Democrats.”

“He told his madness in the mainstream media and his pleas that it was about President Trump. Instead, his witch hunt is persecuting an innocent 80-year-old man for probably taking free parking!” Miller tweeted, apparently referring to Wesselberg, who is 73.

Trump had blasted the investigation in a statement on Monday, calling Vance’s office “uncivilized, nasty and completely biased” in its treatment of Trump Company lawyers, representatives and long-term employees.

Trump said in the statement that the company’s actions are “things that are standard practice throughout the American business community, and are in no way a crime” and that Vance’s investigation was an investigation “looking for crime.”

Lawyers for the Trump Organization met virtually with Manhattan prosecutors last week to prevent them from accusing the company. Prosecutors gave lawyers a Monday deadline to make the case that criminal charges should not be filed.

Ron Fischetti, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, told the AP this week that there was no indication that Trump himself was involved in the first batch of allegations.

“There is no indictment coming down this week against the former president,” Fischetti said. “I can’t say that he’s completely out of the woods right now.”

Trump and his real estate-developer father, Fred’s loyalist Lieutenant Weiselberg, have come under some degree of scrutiny after his son questioned his use of the Trump apartment for little or no cost.

Barry Weiselberg manages a Trump-run ice rink in Central Park.

Barry’s ex-wife, Jane Weiselberg, is cooperating with the investigation and has handed over piles of tax records and other documents to investigators.

Alan Weiselberg has worked for the Trump Organization since 1973.

Prosecutors summoned Jeffrey McConkey, another longtime Trump finance executive, senior vice president and comptroller, to testify before the grand jury in the spring. Under New York law, grand jury witnesses are given immunity and cannot be charged with conduct for which they testify.

Prosecutors investigating Trump’s executives without tax benefits are also looking at Matthew Calamari, a former Trump bodyguard-turned-chief operating officer, and his son, the company’s corporate director of security. However, a lawyer for Calamaris said on Wednesday that he did not expect he would be charged.

“While the DA investigation is clearly underway, I do not expect charges to be filed against any of my clients at this time,” said attorney Nicholas Gravent.

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Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Weslaco, Texas, and Bernard Condon in New York contributed to this report.

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On Twitter, follow Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak

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