Politics Trump Organization, ex-CFO to face October criminal tax fraud trial in New York
Michael Cohen says he 'would not be surprised' if FBI informant was one of Trump's kids or Jared Kushner
"It's definitely a member of his inner circle," Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, told Insider on Thursday.My visits there as a White House reporter for Politico more than five years ago came during the earliest days of Trump's presidency. They gave me an up-close look into all of the controversy and celebrity hoopla that surrounded a man who just months earlier had become the most powerful person on the planet.
By Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) - A New York state judge on Friday refused to dismiss criminal tax fraud charges against Donald Trump's namesake company and its longtime financial chief, one of a slew of legal battles involving the former U.S. president.
Justice Juan Merchan in Manhattan also said jury selection for the trial of the Trump Organization and its former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg will begin on Oct. 24, 15 days before the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
Why Did Trump Plead The Fifth Amendment?—What We Do Know, What We Don't
Trump reportedly pleaded the Fifth more than 440 times in New York—but was it the best move? Newsweek Fact Check investigates.The hearing in New York centers on Trump's tax affairs and valuations of Trump organization assets.
Donald Trump is not among the defendants.
The judge rejected arguments by Trump's New York City-based company and Weisselberg that they had been selectively prosecuted, and that federal courts were better positioned to determine whether the Internal Revenue Service had been defrauded, among other bids to dismiss charges.
The judge did toss one charge from the 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization because it had been brought too late.
Hearings on other motions are scheduled for September.
Video: Trump Organization, CFO's tax fraud trial set (Associated Press)
Longtime Trump CFO expected to plead guilty to tax charges: Sources
The Trump Organization's longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg, is expected to plead guilty to tax charges as soon as this week, sources tell ABC News. Weisselberg, 75, is currently scheduled to go on trial in the fall, but a hearing in the case is now scheduled for this Thursday, in what could be a sign that he could change his plea then.
In the indictment, the Trump Organization and Weisselberg are accused of having defrauded tax authorities over 15 years by awarding "off-the-books" benefits to company executives.
Weisselberg was charged with evading $1.7 million of income, including rent for a Manhattan apartment, lease payments for two Mercedes-Benz vehicles and tuition for family members, with Trump signing checks for the tuition himself.
Other charges in the indictment include scheming to defraud, tax fraud and falsifying business records.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty. The Trump Organization could face fines and other penalties. Weisselberg is also charged with grand larceny, which carries a maximum 15-year prison term on conviction.
The charges arose from an investigation by former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Vance's probe into Donald Trump's activities appeared to lose steam after Alvin Bragg succeeded him as district attorney in January.
It's 'Over' for Trump Organization if Weisselberg Pleads Guilty: Expert
The organization and its former chief financial officer were indicted last year in an probe led by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.Andrew Weissman, a professor of practice for New York University's School of Law, former federal prosecutor and legal analyst for MSNBC, said in an interview posted to YouTube on Monday that a guilty plea from former CFO Allen Weisselberg would be important because the Trump Organization is set to go on trial in October.
Two prosecutors who had been leading the probe resigned in February, and one, Mark Pomerantz, has said he believed felony charges should be brought against the Republican former president but that Bragg indicated he had doubts.
Bragg's office has said the investigation is continuing.
Friday's hearing came as the United States is asking a federal judge in Florida to unseal a search warrant executed on Monday at Trump's Florida residence, along with a redacted list of the items retrieved by FBI agents.
Separately, Trump spent several hours on Wednesday in a deposition for New York Attorney General Letitia James' civil probe into his business practices.
Trump refused to answer questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
A writer who chronicled Donald Trump's rise to fame predicted that the Trump Org will be 'put out of business' .
The prediction comes after Trump's longtime CFO took a plea deal and admitted that the Trump Org dodged payroll taxes for 15 years. "I think a lot of this is going to come to a head in the fall," O'Brien told MSNBC. A biographer who chronicled former President Donald Trump's rise to fame in a 2005 book predicted that the Trump Organization will go out of business shortly. Tim O'Brien, author of Trump Nation, said in a Friday interview with MSNBC that there are various signs of an impending collapse.