Trump biographer compares him to Al Capone as prosecutors hone in on his finance chief

Mayank Aggarwal
·2-min read
<p>Former US president Donald Trump recently spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando</p> (Reuters)

Former US president Donald Trump recently spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando

(Reuters)

Donald Trump’s biographer Timothy L O’Brien on Tuesday compared him to the notorious American gangster Al Capone, as prosecutors were closing in on the Trump Organisation’s longtime chief financial officer for details about the former president’s financial dealings.

"Al Capone ultimately went down because they got his accountant... and the accountant is the one who showed federal investigators how Capone’s organisations were cooking his books,” Mr O’Brien, author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, told MSNBC News.

The comments come as news reports said state prosecutors in New York, who are investigating Mr Trump’s financial dealings, are sharpening their focus on Allen Weisselberg and his family’s involvement in the Trump Organisation.

“This [Allen Weisselberg] is about the most vulnerable person you could put in the crosshairs around Donald Trump,” said Mr O’Brien, saying for example that prosecutors could find out why some Trump properties were allegedly valued one way for tax collectors and another way for insurers and banks.

Watch: Trump refuses to concede, what did others before him do?

The Trump biographer explained that Mr Weisselberg, 73, is the same age as Mr Trump and he was also the accountant of Fred Trump, the former president’s father.

“He came into the Trump organisation in the seventies… He graduated to becoming Donald’s CFO. There was no deal that went through the Trump organisation of significance that Allen Weisselberg didn’t look at. There was no financing arrangement he didn’t give his blessing to,” Mr O’Brien said.

Investigations into the former president’s financial dealings started in 2018 when authorities started looking into hush-money payments to two women who claimed they had had affairs with Mr Trump. The former president has denied having relationships with the women.

But the scope of the investigations has expanded since. Mr O’Brien explained that what is happening now is the “classic prosecutorial strategy” where the authorities are doing more than merely looking at Mr Weisselberg – and said he might “flip” as a result.

“And if Allen Weisselberg flips you are going to see a number of dominos very quickly tip over inside the Trump organisation … and it is going to present a lot of legal peril to Donald Trump around issues like tax fraud, accounting fraud and falsification of business records and some of these other issues that we know the Manhattan attorney is looking at,” he said.

Last week, prosecutors in New York got a major boost when the Supreme Court refused to prevent them from obtaining tax records the former president has fought for years to keep secret.

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