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Trump Org. controller to testify to Manhattan grand jury investigating hush money payments

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CNN

The Trump Organization chief executive is scheduled to appear before a grand jury in Manhattan on Thursday to investigate his alleged role in former President Donald Trump’s hush payment scheme, a person familiar with the matter said. rice field.

Executive Jeffrey McConey, administrator of the Trump Organization, is one of the company’s highest financial officers and is responsible for its books and records.

McConney’s sue plan is set in motion by prosecutors at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office using a hush-money system to stop adult-film star Stormy Daniels from revealing her past relationship with Trump just before the 2016 presidential election. It takes place while accelerating the investigation of (Trump has denied the allegations.)

A spokeswoman for District Attorney Alvin Bragg declined to comment. McConney’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

In recent weeks, prosecutors have spoken to key witnesses to the hush-money deal.This week, prosecutors David Pecker, former publisher of the National Enquirer. Two weeks ago, former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance charges for facilitating a $130,000 payment to Daniels, held his first meeting with prosecutors under Bragg’s leadership. returned to

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Cohen told ‘CNN This Morning’ on Wednesday Prosecutors have requested his cell phone to obtain an audio recording of a conversation he had with Keith Davidson, the attorney who arranged Daniels’ deal. Davidson had previously been subpoenaed by prosecutors for the record, the sources said.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Trump and his company falsified business records by improperly designating reimbursements as legal fees. That charge is a misdemeanor in New York unless tied to another crime such as campaign finance law.

They are testifying before a recently appointed grand jury, according to people familiar with the matter. The start of the presentation does not mean that a decision has been made on whether to bring charges against Trump or anyone else.

Prosecutors who worked under former prosecutor Cy Vance were considering charges related to hush money schemes, but some attorneys on the team believe the charges, including violations of federal election law, are legal. people familiar with the investigation told CNN.

One such ex-prosecutor, Mark PomerantzHe, who resigned last year after protesting that he was not allowed to seek charges against Trump, will publish a book next week that promises an “inside explanation” of past efforts to investigate Trump.

The Attorney’s Office’s current investigation, which once focused on the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s financial statements, now focuses on the treatment of hush-money payments by real estate companies and whether they violate New York law. They are back, said a person familiar with the matter. .

According to testimony in last year’s Trump Organization tax evasion trial, McConey testified eight times before a grand jury. In New York, individuals who appear before a grand jury are allowed to escape prosecution unless they lie under oath.

By his own testimony, McConney was not a willing witness. He testified that he refused to meet with prosecutors to prepare his testimony before the trial that resulted in his conviction.

A judge allowed the prosecution to treat McConney as an adversary witness, who was identified as a co-conspirator in a tax evasion scheme. As McConney testified, the Trump Organization covered his legal costs.

McCony reported Allen Weisselbergformer Chief Financial Officer and oversaw the general ledger that tracks payments.

At issue in the investigation are payments to Daniels and Trump Organization reimbursements to Cohen.

According to Cohen’s filings with federal prosecutors, Trump Organization officials approved his initial $130,000 payment plus a total of $420,000 to cover his tax obligations, rewarding him with bonuses. gave the

Trump Organization executives decided to pay monthly installments to Cohen, who submitted bills demanding payment pursuant to a “retention agreement.”

In one instance, prosecutors said bills requesting $35,000 over two months were forwarded from one executive to another, who authorized payment. Prosecutors alleged that the first executive forwarded the email to another employee and said: Post to legal expenses. Enter “January 2017 and his February retainer” in the description.

Federal prosecutors argued that there was no reserved contract and that the company had mistakenly recorded those payments as legal fees on the company’s books. Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of his crimes, including campaign finance violations related to the payment.

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