One of the top Trump Organization officials was brought before a special grand jury convened by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to hear evidence against former President Donald Trump and his company, sources speaking to ABC News.
Jeff McConney, senior vice president and comptroller of the Trump Organization, is the first employee of the former president’s company to be called to testify, the sources say.
The official is one of many witnesses who have already appeared before the special grand jury, which will determine whether criminal charges are justified against the former president, his company or any of his employees.
Daniel R Alonso, the former Manhattan deputy chief prosecutor, told ABC News that testimony regarding the finances of the Trump Organization would be essential for the case against the former president and his company.
“Complex accounting issues are critical to this investigation, as is the knowledge and intent of the people in the Trump Organization involved in these transactions,” he said.
He explained that in cases with complex financial problems, a company’s controller – in this case Mr. McConney – is one of the most important witnesses.
“Either way, like this, the two most important people – whether as targets or witnesses – are the company’s chief financial officer and the company’s controller,” Alonso said.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has investigated the Trump Organization, including the financial transactions of the company’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
He specifically investigates the “fringe benefits” offered to him by the company and whether appropriate taxes have been paid for such compensation beyond the man’s salary.
“If, as has been reported, the DA is targeting Allen Weisselberg, it makes sense to seek testimony from the Controller, who presumably reports to him and works with him on a daily basis,” Alonso said.
In previous reports, sources have said that Mr. Vance is seeking to induce Mr. Weisselberg to cooperate with the investigation.
Mr Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg, has previously spoken about the investigation and cooperated with the investigation by discussing her time with the family.
“Some of the questions they were asking were about Allen’s compensation in the Trump Place apartment on Riverside Boulevard,” Ms. Weisselberg told ABC News.
Mr. Vance’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s business practices began with the testimony of former personal lawyer and fixer for the former president, Michael Cohen.
Part of the investigation is to determine whether Mr. Trump intentionally inflated the value of certain properties in order to obtain bank loans and deflated others to pay less taxes.
Mr. Trump attributed the investigation to another “witch hunt” against him.
“This is the continuation of the greatest witch hunt in American history,” Mr. Trump said in a statement last month. “It’s purely political, and an affront to the nearly 75 million voters who backed me in the presidential election, and it’s pushed by very partisan Democratic prosecutors.”