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Trump's CFO Turns Himself In Ahead Of Expected Criminal Charges

A pedestrian walks past the Trump Building in New York City in January.
Mark Kauzlarich
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Bloomberg via Getty Images
A pedestrian walks past the Trump Building in New York City in January.

Updated July 1, 2021 at 9:29 AM ET

Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer who oversaw day-to-day management of the Trump Organization while Donald Trump was in the White House, surrendered himself to authorities at a New York City courthouse Thursday morning. The move comes ahead of expected criminal charges against Weisselberg and Trump's family business later in the day.

In a statement on Thursday, Weisselberg's personal lawyer, Mary Mulligan, wrote that he "intends to plead not guilty and he will fight these charges in court."

Allen Weisselberg (right), the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, lights a Hanukkah menorah with then-Macy's CEO Ron Klein in 2004 in New York City.
Corey Sipkin / New York Daily News via Getty Images
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New York Daily News via Getty Images
Allen Weisselberg (right), the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, lights a Hanukkah menorah with then-Macy's CEO Ron Klein in 2004 in New York City.

The charges are the first in a wide-ranging, three-year investigation into possible fraud by Trump, his company and his associates. Weisselberg, a four-decade employee of the Trump Organization, was involved in nearly all financial decisions and is understood to be a linchpin in a possible case against Trump. The former president has denied any wrongdoing.

The CFO is expected to face criminal charges of paying employees off the books to avoid taxes. Among the benefits the Trump Organization is said to have paid for are cars, apartments and private school tuition.

"These are really expensive fringe benefits we are talking about here," says Duncan Levin, an attorney for Weisselberg's former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg. "These are multimillion-dollar apartments, tuitions to the most expensive private schools in the world, renovations of marble and other high-end appliances. The core of this is serious."

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to comment on the expected indictment. The Trump Organization's attorneys and Trump's personal attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Vance has been conducting a years-long investigation of possible protracted criminal fraud by the Trump Organization. The probe was launched around the time Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance charges tied to "hush money" used to silence women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.

In 2019, the New York state attorney general's office started a separate investigation into Trump's real estate transactions that has since been working in partnership with Vance's probe.

In recent months, investigators have been focusing on non-cash payments made to Weisselberg and other top officials in Trump's companies.

The expected timing of the charges was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrea Bernstein
Ilya Marritz

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