Democrat-aligned prosecutors, such as Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, have been closely scrutinizing former President Donald Trump and his family business for years in search of anything that could serve as a basis for criminal charges against Trump or those in close orbit around him.
As part of that investigation into the former president, the prosecutor’s office is reportedly leaning heavily on top Trump Organization executives with threats of bringing them before a grand jury or of separate, but related criminal prosecutions, the Washington Examiner reported.
The obvious intent of such an effort would be to coerce or compel the executives to cooperate with the probe and flip on Trump by providing information or testimony that would lead to either criminal charges against the former president or the organization.
Trump Org COO threatened with criminal charges
According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump Organization executive Matthew Calamari, a former Trump bodyguard who climbed the ranks to become the chief operating officer of the company, is being investigated for allegedly failing to pay taxes on some of the fringe benefits he purportedly received.
The report also noted that failing to pay taxes on certain benefits and perks can be a crime in some instances, though it is unusual for prosecutors to pursue someone on those charges alone.
The newspaper further reported that Calamari, along with his son, Matthew Calamari Jr., who is the Organization’s corporate director of security, have both been advised by Manhattan prosecutors to avail themselves of an attorney, a signal that they could soon face criminal charges of their own or be subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.
Other Trump execs face similar threats
The report came less than a week after The New York Times reported that DA Vance had ramped up the pressure against Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, over allegations that he had failed to pay taxes on some of the fringe benefits provided to him and his family.
The pressure has reportedly been building for many months, though, to date, it appears that Weisselberg has refused to turn against Trump, even as the prosecutors were allegedly successful in flipping his daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg — who is in the midst of a bitter divorce from his son, Barry — and soliciting cooperative interviews with her on several occasions.
One of Weisselberg’s top lieutenants, senior vice president and controller Jeff McConney, has also felt the pressure. According to an earlier report from ABC News, he was brought in to testify before a grand jury, though it remains unclear if he was cooperative or if he’s facing a threat of criminal prosecution.
Nonetheless, the fact that a top executive from the Trump Organization has already testified, and others are facing mounting pressure to do so as well, has been taken by some legal observers as a signal that DA Vance is close to reaching a point where criminal charges may soon be formally filed against some or all of the top executives, up to and including the former president.
The “Witch Hunt” continues
ABC News noted that when news of Vance’s grand jury was first reported in May, the former president said in a statement that it was merely “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history.”
“This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,” Trump said at that time.