New Manhattan grand jury weighing charges tied to Trump Organization -source – Reuters Leave a comment

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg appears for his arraignment hearing in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., July 1, 2021. Barry Williams/Pool via REUTERS
NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) – The Manhattan district attorney has convened a new grand jury to weigh potential further charges in a case involving former President Donald Trump's Trump Organization, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The second grand jury was expected to examine how the company valued its assets, the Washington Post reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The criminal case stems from a probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in collaboration with New York State Attorney General Letitia James. James has been examining whether the company inflated the values of some properties to obtain better loans, while indicating lower values for tax purposes.
An indictment unsealed in July charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with committed tax fraud arising from a probe into Trump's business and its practices.
That indictment said the company provided perks and benefits such as rent-free apartments and leased cars to Weisselberg and other officials without proper reporting on tax returns.
Both Weisselberg and the company pleaded not guilty. A Republican, Trump himself has not been charged and calls the charges politically motivated.
The new grand jury was seated after the first grand jury's term expired, said the person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment.
A lawyer for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Mary Mulligan, a lawyer for Weisselberg, declined to comment.
Trump's company operates hotels, golf courses, and resorts around the world. Before entering the White House in January 2017, Trump put the organization into a trust overseen by his adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric, as well as Weisselberg.
The legal woes could complicate the company's relationships with banks, and could pose a challenge to Trump's political future as he considers running for another term in 2024.
EYES ON 2024
Vance, a Democrat, will step down at the end of the year. James, also a Democrat, has said she will run for governor of New York in 2022.
While it was not immediately clear which properties the second grand jury was focusing on, James had been examining how the Trump organization assessed the value of Seven Springs, a 212-acre estate in New York City's northern suburbs, and in particular a 2015 agreement not to develop a portion of the property.
The attorney general's office said in a court filing that an appraiser hired by Trump before the agreement set the property's value at $56.6 million and the easement's value at $21.1 million – the amount Trump claimed as an income tax deduction.
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