A Manhattan judge on Monday set a trial schedule for Allen Weiselberg and the Trump Organization that could coincide with the 2022 midterm elections.
Former President Donald J. Trump’s family business and its longtime chief financial officer are set to go on trial for tax offenses late next summer, a deadline that will overlap with the closing clause of the 2022 midterm campaign season, Will potentially affect races where Mr Trump’s presence could be bigger.
A Manhattan criminal court judge on Monday ordered the Trump Organization and longtime senior executive, Alan H. Weiselberg’s court appearance, as one of Mr Weiselberg’s lawyers suggested that charges against other individuals in the long-running felony could be imminent. The business dealings of the company are being investigated.
“We have strong reason to believe that other indictments may follow,” said Brian Scarlatos, attorney for Mr. Weiselberg, who has been accused of evading taxes on more than $1.7 million that prosecutors said proceeds. Should have been reported as.
While prosecutors at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office did not respond to Mr Scarlatos’ claim, they are investigating other Trump Organization employees for receiving undisclosed perks such as rent-free apartments and leased cars.
If the schedule goes ahead as set, a trial in the final weeks of a turbulent political season could begin and continue to shadow Trump, who has repeatedly suggested he run for president again. can run. This is Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who has been investigating the former president’s family business for years, steps down.
A test could complicate Republican candidates’ reliance on the former president’s appeal, and encourage their Democratic opponents to make the competitive race a referendum on Trump, as California Governor Gavin Newsom said last week. The recall election was successful.
Since charging Mr. Weiselberg in July, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been investigating Matthew Calamari, who once served as Mr. Trump’s bodyguard and went on to become the Trump Organization’s chief operating officer for more than four decades. Grow in time It is unclear whether prosecutors will eventually indict Mr Calamari.
“We remain in discussions with the District Attorney’s office concerning Matthew Calamari, but continue to believe he has no basis to impeach,” said Mr. Calamari’s attorney, Nicholas A. Gravante Jr. said, “If they currently intend to indict him, I would have been informed. I have not been and in fact, have been informed to the contrary.”
Mr Weiselberg appeared in court for the first time since July, when he was charged with tax fraud, grand theft and other crimes. The Trump Organization was also accused of what prosecutors described as a 15-year conspiracy to evade taxes.
Prosecutors said Mr Weiselberg was one of the biggest beneficiaries of what he called “a comprehensive and audacious plan” in which the Trump Organization, Mr Trump’s real estate business, evaded taxes by reimbursing perks, including free cars, to its leaders. helped to escape. Apartment.
Mr Weiselberg, 74, pleaded not guilty. He continues to work at the Trump Organization, where he has spent nearly 50 years, although he has been removed from leadership positions at the company and several of its subsidiaries.
Mr Weiselberg has been accused of failing to pay taxes on allowances including a leased Mercedes-Benz, a rent-free apartment and tuition for his grandchildren. Prosecutors continue to pressure him to cooperate with their broader investigation into Trump’s business dealings, and the stakes are high for Weiselberg: If convicted, he could face more than a decade in prison. Is.
In a statement released on Monday, Mr Weiselberg’s lawyers said the indictment against him was “full of unsupported and flawed factual and legal claims” and they looked forward to challenging those claims in court.
Judge Juan Merchan said on Monday he would look at a hearing date in late August or early September. However, that schedule can change, as is often the case in court.
Charges against Weiselberg and the Trump Organization this summer stemmed from a year-long investigation into whether Trump, a Republican, or his company committed tax, insurance or bank-related fraud.
Mr Trump, who has not been accused of wrongdoing in relation to the investigation, has consistently criticized it as a politically motivated “witch hunt”. A personal lawyer for Mr Trump, Ronald P. Fischetti echoed that sentiment in an interview on Monday, saying he didn’t even have the opportunity to ask that the case be dismissed because there were no charges against Trump.
“How long will this last?” Mr. Fishetti said.
Mr Vance, a Democrat, did not run for re-election and was not present in the courtroom on Monday. Two candidates, Alvin Bragg and Thomas Kneif, will compete for his place in a vote to be held in November.
Mr. Bragg, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor, are in favor of defeating Mr. Kneif, a Republican former state prosecutor, noting that Manhattan voters are highly Democratic.
ben proteus And William K. Rashbaum Contributed reporting.