Fallout of NYC Charges Could Be Significant for Trump
An investigation that uncovered the alleged abuse of run-of-the-mill perks — like car leases, apartments and school tuition — transformed Donald Trump's family business from real estate branding empire to criminal defendant, reports the New York Times. Charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial executive, Allen Weisselberg, alleged a scheme lasting over a decade in which Weisselberg failed to pay taxes on close to $2 million worth of perks and bonuses as the company benefited from helping him do so. While there is no indication that Trump himself will face criminal charges anytime soon, the former president will remain the focus of the investigation as prosecutors exert pressure on Weisselberg to cooperate.
Trump has escaped numerous law enforcement inquiries over decades, and he could well do so again. Even so, the case brought by District Attorney Cyrus Vance on Thursday has already struck at the heart of Trump’s public image in a way no other investigation has done. The fallout could be significant. An indictment against a company — let alone a conviction — can jeopardize relationships with banks and business partners. The former president is facing down hundreds of millions of dollars in loans that need to be repaid, and the legal threat to his business could deal a blow to his finances. The charges unveiled on Thursday may also mark another step in the district attorney’s broader, continuing investigation into the former president, in which he has been joined by the New York State attorney general, Letitia James. The inquiry is focused on whether Trump effectively kept two separate sets of books: one for his bankers, in which he overstated the value of his properties, and another for the tax authorities, in which he understated them.
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