The charges are the first brought by New York prosecutors in the case since they launched their investigation nearly two years ago into the financial dealings of Trump, his company, his family, and associates.
Trump has called the investigation a politically motivated “witch hunt” by Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats. The investigation has been a joint effort by the DA’s office and James, who campaigned on a promise of investigating the Trumps.
Two years in the making
For nearly two years the Trump case has been a focus of Manhattan prosecutors, who went all the way to the Supreme Court in a fight for access to Trump’s tax returns and financial records. The investigation stemmed from the testimony of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who told Congress the Trump Organization valued its holdings differently when seeking loans versus when talking to tax authorities.
After a Supreme Court ruling in March, documents were turned over to the Manhattan DA’s office by the former president’s accountants at Mazars USA. The Trump tax documents run into the millions of pages, a source told ABC News at the time. Around the same time, Vance’s team expanded to bring on former federal prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to scrutinize the material and aid in building a case to present to a grand jury. Pomerantz, who was named a special assistant district attorney, has only worked on the Trump case since joining the Manhattan DA’s team earlier this year. The former federal prosecutor specializes in white collar financial crimes.
In recent weeks, the Manhattan DA made the rare move of impaneling a special grand jury focused on the Trump probe. ABC News first reported that one of the most senior officials in the Trump Organization, Jeff McConney, was among several witnesses that appeared before the special grand jury. Sources familiar with the matter say no other members of the Trump Organization leadership were asked to testify.
Who is Weisselberg?
Weisselberg, who has worked for Trump for decades, is one of the longest-tenured Trump employees and has been described by Trump as one of the most loyal. Weisselberg worked for Trump’s father, Fred Trump, before joining a young Donald Trump in building the Trump Organization.
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SOURCE: ABC News, John Santucci and Aaron Katersky