While a press release from the Trump Organization portrayed the investigation and then-forthcoming charges as a “scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president,” Manhattan District Attorney’s office general counsel Carey Dunne said, “Politics had no role in the grand jury chamber and I can assure you it had no role here.”
”To put it bluntly,” Dunne said, “this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme.”
The Trump Organization paid for tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren—with the checks signed by Donald Trump—as well as furniture and carpeting for his home in Florida. These payments were treated internally as compensation, but weren’t reported as compensation on his W-2 forms or for other relevant tax purposes.
The charges here are significant, but they’re also presumably intended to put pressure on Weisselberg to cooperate with prosecutors to help bring even more serious charges against the Trump Organization and, who can say, perhaps some of the family members behind the family business. Weisselberg was released on his own recognizance, but did surrender his passport after prosecutors raised concerns he could be a flight risk.