The indictment against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer arose out of an investigation into what appeared to be an unrelated matter: the now infamous $ 130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
The Manhattan Attorney’s investigation into a hush money payment to the alleged lover of former President Donald Trump has since turned into a comprehensive investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices, including whether it was involved in banking, insurance and tax fraud.
This week, an investigation that stalled several times over three years finally reached a courtroom indicting the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg on tax charges. The prosecutor, who works with the New York attorney general, accused the company and its CFO of running a 15-year tax avoidance program by offering Manhattan apartments, luxury cars, and private schooling as off-the-books compensation.
The Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg pleaded not guilty, and their lawyers said they would take action against the charges.
The charges go well beyond the investigation’s original focus – the handling of the payment to Ms. Daniels by the Trump Organization, which was supposed to silence her over her allegations of sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. Former prosecutors said Thursday’s charges could become a stepping stone to bringing broader charges against Mr Trump himself if Mr Weisselberg asked for leniency in return for testifying against his longtime boss.