In a motion filed Tuesday, the Trump Organization and former CFO Allen Weisselberg argued that the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal fraud and tax-evasion accusations against them are politically motivated.
In July, the former president’s corporation, Trump Organization, was accused of giving executives with excessive “indirect employee compensation,” or untaxed benefits.
It was said that Weisselberg, who had worked for the corporation alongside Trump for decades, received $1.7 million in perks, including an apartment and a car.
The firm and Weisselberg have pleaded not guilty.
Lawsuits filed Tuesday say that the corporation and its former CFO were unfairly targeted because of political bias. As a Republican, Trump opposes Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.
A Bragg representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
New York City’s district attorney’s office has authority over federal income tax returns, Weisselberg’s lawyers argued. Weisselberg should be freed because he was granted immunity from criminal prosecution when he testified in front of a federal grand jury investigating former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
According to them, much of Cohen’s later cooperation in the Manhattan case was motivated by his “vendetta” against Weisselberg for his role in his conviction.
On Tuesday, Cohen sent a text message to CBS News saying, “The claimed vengeance here is untrue…
Only a desire to ensure that no one is above the law and that justice is done!” New York’s two district attorney investigators “struck up small chat” with Weisselberg while he was in jail, according to Weisselberg’s attorneys, who argue the investigators basically misled Weisselberg into disclosing information he wouldn’t otherwise have had with a lawyer present.
There will be no decision until prosecutors respond to the judge’s petitions to dismiss.
Despite Trump’s and the company’s defeat in a separate civil inquiry led by James, the filings came less than a week later.
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New York’s Attorney General’s Office’s fraud investigation will be able to subpoena Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.
Trump’s longstanding accounting firm, Mazars USA, recently informed the Trump Organization that it was retracting a decade of financial statements generated for the company and would no longer be employed by it, according to a February 14 filing in that inquiry.