By Tierney Sneed, Kara Scannell, Yon Pomrenze and Paula Reid, CNN
Allen Weisselberg — the former Trump Organization CFO who has been charged by Manhattan prosecutors for an alleged tax evasion scheme — is expecting that more indictments will be filed in the case after tax documents were found in an alleged co-conspirator’s basement, Weisselberg’s lawyer said in court Monday.
“We have strong reason to believe there could be other indictments coming,” Weisselberg attorney Bryan Skarlatos said at a pre-trial hearing in New York State Supreme Court.
Holding up a manila envelope with a bulge in it, Skarlatos said that the parties met in the judge’s chambers before the court hearing.
“It was represented to us by the [district attorney’s office] that this package includes documents found in a co-conspirator’s basement that are tax documents,” Skarlatos said.
Weisselberg faces 15 state counts, including grand larceny, which were unveiled by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance in July. The grand jury indictment alleged a 15-year tax evasion scheme in which Weisselberg received from the Trump Organization an array of luxury perks — including an Upper West Side apartment, a pair of Mercedes-Benz cars for him and his wife, and private school tuition for two family members — in lieu of compensation.
The former president’s namesake business was also charged in the indictment, but Donald Trump himself has not been charged.
The alleged scheme, according to prosecutors, allowed Weisselberg to evade taxes on $1.76 million in income over a period beginning in 2005. Weisselberg is also accused of concealing his residency in New York City to avoid paying city income taxes.
Weisselberg has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Monday’s hearing was Weisselberg’s first court appearance in the case since his arraignment this summer.
His lawyer did not identify who else Weisselberg’s team expected to face an indictment in the Vance investigation, but prosecutors have been scrutinizing other top Trump Org. employees, including Matthew Calamari, Sr., the company’s chief operating officer and his son, Trump Org. corporate director of security Matthew Calamari, Jr.
The younger Calamari testified before the grand jury earlier this month and received transactional immunity for the topics he testified about, in accordance with New York state law. The decision to bring him before the grand jury signals prosecutors do not plan to indict him.
Father and son have been under scrutiny by prosecutors over whether they properly paid taxes on subsidized rent and cars they received as benefits from the company, CNN has previously reported.
On Monday, after the hearing, a lawyer for the Calamaris said in a statement that, “We remain in discussions with the district attorney’s office relating to” Calamari, Sr. The lawyer, Nick Gravante, said that they “believe there is no basis for indicting” Calamari, Sr.
“If they presently intended to indict him, I would have been informed. I haven’t been and, in fact, have been informed to the contrary,” Gravante said.
At Monday’s short hearing, Skarlatos referenced a dispute between the Manhattan district attorney’s office and Trump Organization lawyers, saying, he is “concerned” that his client “becomes collateral damage in a bigger fight” between the two.
Skarlatos did not identify by name the co-conspirator he was referencing when discussing the tax documents that had supposedly been found in a basement. CNN has reported that one alleged co-conspirator in the investigation is Jeff McConney, the controller of the Trump Organization. McConney has testified at least twice before the grand jury, in which he received immunity for his testimony.
Solomon Shinerock, a prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, responded to Weisselberg’s attorney, saying, “Mr. Weisselberg is the boss. Mr. Weisselberg is also not an innocent party caught up as collateral damage.”
The remainder of the hearing focused on scheduling and an attempt by defense to get longer schedule for motions.
Skarlatos argued that defense attorneys have been handed a large amount of documents by the prosecution, asking the judge judge for an extended schedule for the motions.
Shinerock countered that “Allen Weisselberg is no stranger to these documents.”
The judge agreed to a 120-day motions schedule to begin in January, but noted “many of the documents came from the defendants themselves” and that their claims of needing to go through millions of documents was “a little misleading,” as they are “familiar with most of the documents.”
The next court date was set for July 12, 2022, with trial date not expected until August or early September.
In a statement released after the hearing, Weisselberg’s legal team that they had “studied the indictment and it is full of unsupported and flawed factual and legal assertions regarding Allen Weisselberg.”
“We look forward to challenging those assertions in court,” his lawyers said.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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