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‘A Scheme To Defraud’: Manhattan DA’s 15-Count Indictment Hits Trump Inc. And Weisselberg

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

On Thursday, Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, officially faced a grand jury indictment on criminal charges in connection with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.'s financial investigation of former President Donald Trump's company. Weisselberg entered a "not guilty" plea to charges that include grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records.

The Trump Organization itself was also indicted; under New York State law, companies as well as individuals can be indicted on criminal charges. Donald Trump, however, has not been indicted so far.

The indictment in New York State v. the Trump Organization reads, "Beginning from at least 2005 to on or about June 30, 2021, the defendants and others devised and operated a scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities. The purpose of the scheme was to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives in a manner that was 'off the books': the beneficiaries of the scheme received substantial portions of their income through indirect and disguised means, with 'compensation that was unreported or misreported by the Trump Corporation or Trump Payroll Corp. 10 the tax authorities."

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has announced:

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney, told CNN:

CNN legal reporter Erica Orden explained:

Other major legal experts have been quick to respond to the charges that Weisselberg and the Trump Organization are facing. Here's what some of them they have been saying:

"Ivanka's Choice": A Morality Play In One Act


Scene 1: The Kushner home in the tony Kalorama neighborhood of Washington. Cardboard boxes lie around the living room. The shelves are bare.

IVANKA: Daddy was so sure about Mike Pence. It was all going to go so smoothly. And I can't stand that Kimberley for another minute. Did you see her in the tent before the rally? Dancing to "Gloria." Hate that song.

JARED: I tried to convince him to tell those people to stop. He was watching it on TV upstairs. It took hours.

IVANKA: I know you did, honey. I know you tried.

JARED: We both tried.

IVANKA: Both of us. We're such a good team. Did the Secret Service tell you when the moving van is coming?

JARED: Soon, darling.

IVANKA: I can't believe how Daddy got us into this situation. I tweeted that those people were "American patriots" and had to delete it. So embarrassing. They really are worse than deplorable. So low class.

JARED: That's not your fault. All those people who quit should look to you as an example. Speaking of classy. Stephanie Grisham? Really, can you believe the ingratitude? You heard what my father said: Your father is "beyond our control." We did our best. We all did. We'll all keep trying.

IVANKA: I'm glad you had your father say that. But don't tell Daddy I said that. It was good that Daddy gave your father that pardon before, dear. But is it enough to help us? Your father saying "beyond our control," does "our" include me, even after the tweet?

JARED: Always includes you.

IVANKA: Everything was set up perfectly for my Senate campaign in Florida. Then this. There's no problem with the Israeli and Emirati loans that you arranged for the business, right?

JARED: Whatever else happens, don't worry, I've done it all.

IVANKA: I'm so sorry I couldn't be there for the dedication of the courtyard at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The Kushner Garden of Peace. So proud of you.

JARED: It includes you, sweetheart.

IVANKA: Don't you think I can still run in Florida? Little Marco, not so loyal to Daddy. Won't be forgiven. Did you call Brad? I can't believe that meltdown he had. No shirt on the street? Did his wife really need to call the police? We picked up his electronics, right? He can still run the campaign?

JARED: Maybe pay him for some data piece of it. How much did he get from your father's campaign before he blew up? I had to remove him after that rally in Tulsa where no one showed.

IVANKA: Daddy was so angry.

JARED: Nobody in the media even talks about how those K-Pop TikTok fans gamed the tickets. Probably cost us the election.

IVANKA: Brad's arrest, so trashy. All those cars and condos he bought with our money. But you've called him, right?

JARED: Don't worry, the base in Florida is under our control. Why shouldn't you win? Rubio is such a little ingrate.

IVANKA: When I'm a senator, this will all be behind us. I'll be Hillary. And Daddy will have his library. Did you speak to MBS about that library contribution?

JARED: I'm doing everything, it's all taken care of.

IVANKA: I can always count on you, honey. Just amazing. In the library there should be a whole exhibit devoted to everything you've done. More than a garden in a courtyard.

A Secret Service Agent enters:

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Sorry to interrupt, but the van is here. I wonder if I could use the bathroom for a moment.

Scene 2: Office of the Manhattan District Attorney, One Hogan Place, New York City

CYRUS VANCE, JR.: Thank you for appearing here today, Mrs. Kushner. I want to be completely transparent with you and present you with your options.

IVANKA: Nice to see you again, Cy.

VANCE: As you know, in 2012 a case was assembled by the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of this office that you and your brother Donald Trump, Jr. had misled prospective buyers of units in the Trump Soho hotel and condo development, inflating financial figures to lure those buyers. We had dozens of emails as evidence. One witness said there was "no doubt" that you and your brother "approved, knew of, agreed to, and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales," and "They knew it was wrong." Your attorney argued that you had exaggerated the numbers but had done nothing illegal. I decided that it was not beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed, and the case was dropped.

IVANKA: You did the right thing.

VANCE: We have a new situation. In reviewing your father's tax returns serious questions have emerged about your role in a variety of projects. I can tell you that there is no reasonable doubt about your involvement and jeopardy.

IVANKA: Jeopardy? What is this, a game show?

VANCE: It's "Let's Make A Deal."

IVANKA: Making fun of The Art of the Deal. Not funny, Cy.

VANCE: I would prefer that you were a witness rather than indicted.

IVANKA: This is Soho all over again. It's nothing.

VANCE: I would not like to have you do a perp walk. So, here's the deal—I will grant you immunity in exchange for your testimony.

IVANKA: We're talking here about transactional immunity, not limited use.

VANCE: You drive a hard bargain.

IVANKA: I am my father's daughter.

VANCE: You must make a choice. You must provide testimony against either your father or your husband.

IVANKA: How is Jared part of this?

VANCE: Our probe has expanded. Your father or your husband.

IVANKA: What about Melania?

VANCE: She is not a subject of my investigation. The 2017 inaugural committee financial irregularities are being investigated by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Your father or your husband.

IVANKA: That's so outrageous, Cy. I'm so disappointed in you.

VANCE: You must decide now.

IVANKA: You know my heart belongs to Daddy.

Scene 3. The Kushner home on Indian Creek Island in Florida. Ivanka enters. Jared embraces her.

JARED: Guess what? I have a surprise for you. Brad's here to discuss your campaign.

IVANKA: Shabbat shalom.

Sidney Blumenthal, former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, has published three books of a projected five-volume political life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man, Wrestling With His Angel and All the Powers of Earth. His play, This Town, about a scandalous White House dog, was produced in 1995 by LA TheatreWorks. He is also the author of Epstein's Ghost and The Pardon, both one-act plays published previously here.

Manhattan District Attorney ‘Escalating’ Probe Of Trump Tax And Fraud Schemes

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Many articles have been written about the pardons that President Donald Trump is likely to grant during his final weeks in office, including perhaps a preemptive pardon for himself. But presidential pardons only exist at the federal level and not at the state level, which means that a preemptive pardon would have no effect on any charges that might come from a state prosecutor like Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. In an article published in the New York Times this week, journalists William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and David Enrich report that Vance's office has been "escalating" its investigation of Trump's financial activities.

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