This includes three law firmsincluding one representing the prosecution Recently received payments from political groups linked to former President Donald Trump, records show.
Payments totaling over $350,000 in the last two months made byAnd the Republican National Committee highlights the close links shared between the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s personal and corporate legal apparatus.
These links show that the former president’s army of loyal political donors was tapped to support his corporation’s legal troubles.
Columbia University law professor Richard Brifault, an expert in campaign finance law, said of the payment, “On the face of it, it seems suspicious.”
“Usually these entities are only required to spend money on election-related activities,” Brifault said. “I could certainly see the argument that it has an impact on (Trump’s) ability to be a successful candidate, but it strikes me as at least pushing the boundaries.”
Former chief financial officer of the Trump Organizationtestified for Manhattan prosecutors over two days this week. In the audience was his attorney, Nicholas Cervante, a partner in the New York firm of Cadwalder, Wickersham & Taft. On September 23, that firm received a $75,000 payment from the Save America PAC, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Save America is a political action committee founded after Trump lost the presidential election in 2020. It has since become his main fundraising vehicle.
Asked on Thursday whether the payment was related to the Trump Organization trial, Gravante said, “I don’t know. I don’t think it was in connection with that.” Cadwalder’s chief financial officer did not respond to questions about the payments.
The same day Save America paid Gravante’s firm, September 23, it also paid Van der Veen, Hartshorne and Levin $100,000, according to FEC records. Michael van der Veen represents The Trump Organization in the case. His firm previously received $149,864.39 from the Republican National Committee on February 7.
“I don’t know. I’ll have to ask my accounting department,” van der Veen said Thursday afternoon when asked whether the payment was related to his Trump Organization work.
When asked if she has done any other work for Save America recently, van der Veen replied, “I do a lot of things.”
Van der Veen represented Trump during his second impeachment in February 2021. According to FEC records, his firm was paid more than $780,000 that year by the Make America Great Again PAC and the RNC. The Make America Great Again PAC was a fundraising vehicle for Trump’s 2020 campaign.
Trump has called the Manhattan criminal case a “political witch hunt”. Taylor Budovich, a spokesman for Save America, did not respond when asked about the payment. In response to the Washington Post’s reporting in October about the use of donor money to pay law firms, Budovich accused Democrats of “weaponizing taxpayer dollars with bogus investigations and meritless cases in an effort to intimidate and silence Republicans.” accused of making”.
The RNC has made five payments totaling more than $885,000 to Necheless Law LLP this year. That firm includes two attorneys, Susan Necheles and Gedaliah Stern, who are both representing the Trump Organization company in the Manhattan trial. The most recent payments were for $116,181 on October 5th and $235,570.00 on September 7th.
Necheles would not discuss his work for the party.
“You know, I really can’t talk about it. I’m not going to comment on it,” Necheles said.
Wesselberg is set to take the stand again on Friday, his third day of testimony. In August he entered a guilty plea in the case, in which he and two Trump Organization entities were indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on more than a dozen counts related to fraud and tax evasion.
He is accused of participating in a scheme in which company executives allegedly used various methods to deflate income of millions to tax authorities over a decade.
The Trump Organization has denied all allegations and during the trial its lawyers have sought to shift the blame to Wesselberg, saying he betrayed the trust of Trump and others in the company.