On the same day he was named worst living president and tried to ignore a question about his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, Donald Trump was delivered another crushing blow: His family business, The Trump Organization, and one of his closest confidants, Allen H. Weisselberg (seen perching, out of focus, behind Trump and his oldest son, above), were indicted by a grand jury, as per The New York Times. The charges themselves were not made public, but the indictment itself is expected to be unsealed as early as Thursday.
The news is a major development in a year-long investigation into the now-former president’s dealings, which have been undertaken by both Manhattan district attorney, Cryus R. Vance, and the state’s attorney, Letitia James. Trump has long denounced the investigation as a “witch hunt,” words he’s often used when to decry probes into his questionable actions, but, as the Times puts it, “defending his company on criminal charges could be an expensive distraction as he considers another presidential run.”
Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial adviser, has been associated with the family since 1973. First hired by Fred Trump, he started working closely with his son as he made a name for himself as a Manhattan developer. When he moved into the White House after winning the presidency, he entrusted the former bookkeeper with overseeing his company, carrying on work that has long been behind-the-scenes.
His ex-wife Jennifer — who aided the investigation following a nasty divorce — compared Trump and Weisselberg to “Batman and Robin.” She is also responsible for a recent bombshell report, which depicted Trump crashing the shiva for Weisselberg’s mother and proceeding to insult his home, showed naked pictures to mourners, and even hit on his then-spouse. Her husband, she said, did nothing to stop him.
While Weisselberg could seem outwardly pleasant, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, who is currently serving time for him, painted a different picture of him, as per NYT:
Among the tasks Mr. Weisselberg attacked with fervor, former employees recalled, was ensuring that, per Mr. Trump’s direction, no dime left the company’s coffers unless absolutely necessary.
“He and Trump were like Frick and Frack when it came to stiffing vendors,” Mr. Cohen — who at times took on that same role for Mr. Trump — wrote in a book published last year. Mr. Burke, who served as chief financial officer for Mr. Trump’s casino business, said any Trump employee who dealt with vendors knew to “squeeze every penny” out of people, and that Mr. Weisselberg excelled at minimizing and delaying payment.
Weisselberg’s fate, and that of the former president’s business, will be made known as early as Thursday. And now his decades-long loyalty to a guy who can’t spell “junkie” will be put to the test.