People are crowing about the arrest of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg for tax fraud.

A lot of people think that this is the beginning of the end for Trump, but that it just wishful thinking.  It is not even the end of the beginning.

I’ve seen this scenario too many times before.  The bad guys walk:

New York prosecutors on Thursday unveiled a 15-count indictment charging the Trump Organization and its finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, with a wide-ranging conspiracy to avoid paying taxes, launching the first criminal case resulting from a multiyear investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business affairs.

In a Manhattan courtroom, prosecutors described a 15-year-long tax-fraud scheme involving off-the-books payments to employees at the Trump Organization. Executives took perks such as car leases and Manhattan apartments without the company or the recipient paying taxes, prosecutors said.


“There’s no clearer example of a company that should be held to account,” said prosecutor Carey Dunne in court. “It’s not about politics.” He said the investigation was ongoing.

Mr. Weisselberg, appearing in handcuffs, pleaded not guilty. He was released pending trial, though he was required to surrender his passport after prosecutors said he was a flight risk. His lawyers said he would fight the charges.

The top charge for Mr. Weisselberg—grand larceny in the second degree—is a felony that, upon conviction, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Mr. Weisselberg was charged with 15 counts. In addition to grand larceny, prosecutors charged him with scheme to defraud, conspiracy, four counts of criminal tax fraud and other crimes.

The Trump Organization, through its attorneys, also pleaded not guilty. The company was charged with 10 counts, including scheme to defraud, conspiracy and four counts of criminal tax fraud.


The charges could ratchet up the pressure on Mr. Weisselberg to turn on Mr. Trump, who wasn’t charged Thursday. Mr. Weisselberg has so far declined to cooperate, but some defendants change course when faced with the possibility of prison time, former prosecutors said.

He’s not going to flip.


Prosecutors would need to show three things to charge Mr. Trump: knowledge, intent and participation, said Daniel Horwitz, chairman of the white-collar defense and investigation practice at McLaughlin & Stern.

And they will not get that if Weisselberg does not flip.


A case solely focused on fringe benefits is unusual, former prosecutors said. Charging an individual or company for failure to pay taxes on employee benefits alone is rare, though such charges are used as part of larger cases.

Which is one reason why I think that we will not see anything reaching Trump.  The case, at least until the DA adds charges, is not going to put Trump in jail.



In a possible bid to escalate pressure on Mr. Weisselberg and other executives to cooperate, the indictment mentions—though doesn’t name—Mr. Weisselberg’s son, who paid $1,000 a month on one Trump Organization-owned apartment for seven years and then paid no rent on another Trump-owned apartment in 2018. The rental payments weren’t reported as income to tax authorities, prosecutors said. The Wall Street Journal has reported that his son, Barry Weisselberg, lived in Trump-owned apartments. A lawyer for Barry Weisselberg didn’t respond to a request for comment

This case is not a nothing-burger, but the chance that it will place Donald Trump appear to be quite small, though it does appear to be a threat to the Trump organization, as it is likely to make lenders skittish about extending additional credit.

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