Three law firms are involved.including representing the prosecution recently received payments from political groups affiliated with former President Donald Trump, records show.
Over the past two months, payments totaling over $500,000 have been made byand the Republican National Committee, highlighting the close ties between the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s personal and corporate legal apparatus.
The links show that the former president’s legions of loyal political donors were tapped to help his corporation with its legal woes.
“It seems questionable on its face,” Columbia University law professor Richard Brefault, an expert on campaign finance law, said of the payments.
“Usually these institutions are only required to spend money on election-related activities,” Brefault said. “I can certainly see the argument that there are implications for his (Trump’s) ability to be a successful candidate, but it pushes me to the limit, at least.”
Former Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organizationhas testified over two days this week for Manhattan prosecutors. In the audience was his lawyer, Nicholas Gravent, a partner at the New York firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. On Sept. 23, the firm received a $75,000 payment from Save America PAC, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Save America is a political action committee founded by Trump after he lost the 2020 presidential election. It has since become his chief fundraising vehicle.
Asked Thursday if the payment was related to the Trump Organization lawsuit, Gravent said, “I have no idea. I don’t think it was related.” Cadwalader’s chief financial officer did not respond to questions about the payment.
The same day Save America paid Gravante’s firm, Sept. 23, it also paid $100,000 to van der Veen, Hartshorne and Levin, according to FEC records. Michael van der Veen is representing the Trump Organization Company in the case. His firm previously received $149,864.39 from the Republican National Committee on Feb. 7.
“I don’t know. I’d have to ask my accounting department,” van der Veen said Thursday afternoon when asked if the payment was related to his Trump Organization work.
Asked if he has done recent work to save America, van der Veen replied, “I do a lot of things.”
Van der Veen represented Trump during his second impeachment in February 2021. His firm was paid more than $780,000 this year by the Make America Great Again PAC and the RNC, according to FEC records. 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 Save America spokeswoman, did not respond when asked about the payments. in response to The Washington Post Reporting on the use of donor money to pay law firms in October, Budovich accused Democrats of “spoofing taxpayer dollars in an effort to intimidate and silence Republicans on a bogus investigation without merit.” Weaponization through Cases”.
The RNC has made five payments this year, totaling more than $885,000 to Necheles Law LLP. The firm includes two attorneys, Susan Knuckles and Gedaliah Stern, who are both representing the Trump Organization company in the Manhattan lawsuit. The most recent payments were $116,181 on October 5th and $235,570.00 on September 7th.
Knuckles won’t discuss her work for the party.
“You know, I can’t really talk about it. I’m not going to comment on it,” Nichlis said.
Wesselberg is scheduled to take the stand again Friday, his third day of testimony. In August, he entered a guilty plea in the case, in which the Manhattan district attorney’s office charged him and two Trump Organization entities with more than a dozen counts of fraud and tax evasion.
They are accused of participating in a scheme in which company executives allegedly used various methods to defraud tax authorities of millions in income over a period of more than a decade.
The Trump Organization has denied all allegations and its lawyers have tried to impeach Wesselberg during the trial, saying he betrayed the trust of Trump and others in the company.