The charges include robbery and stem from what an official in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has described as a “15-year tax evasion scheme” involving the “top executives” of the Trump Organization.
“Today is an important milestone in the ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg. In the indictment, we allege, among other things, financial mischief whereby the Trump Organization engaged in a scheme with Mr. Weisselberg to avoid paying This investigation will continue and we will follow the facts and the law where let them lead us, ”New York State Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement after the indictment was released.
Former President Donald Trump’s namesake company itself has also been charged with a number of charges, including tax evasion, and has pleaded not guilty.
Lawyers for Mr Weisselberg and the Trump Organization spoke at a press conference after a court hearing on Thursday, where they claimed their clients had been the victims of an overt political attack.
“The IRS has never argued such a case,” argued Alan Futerfas, lawyer for Mr Weisselberg, adding that the case should have been dealt with in a civil court. “I think this is an inappropriate precedent. I think the office knows that.
Adding that he did not believe that a criminal case would have been brought against Mr Weisselberg if the company name did not bear the last name of the former president, Mr Futerfas added that the tense political atmosphere today “contributed to today’s events.”
“Given the unprecedented nature of these accusations… this is the reason why these accusations were brought,” he said.
Carey Dunne, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, refuted the allegations, stating that “[p]politics has no role in the jury room and I can assure you that it has no role here ”.
Mr. Weisselberg is just the latest in a long line of Mr. Trump associates who have faced criminal charges in recent years. He pardoned his longtime advisers Steve Bannon, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort in the final days of his presidency for a slew of criminal convictions racked up by the three men.
In a statement addressing the allegations Thursday, Mr. Trump said the “political witch hunt” against him and his supporters continues.