Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

From left: Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump Jr. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Longtime Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and lawyers for the company pleaded not guilty to tax-related charges on Thursday.

The latest: Weisselberg was arraigned one day after a grand jury returned an indictment, charging him and the Trump family company with grand larceny and scheme to defraud.

  • The case involves fringe benefits given to employees, including the use of apartments and automobiles. The Trump executive allegedly received more than $1.7 million in off-the-book compensation.
  • Prosecutor Carey Dunne described a 15-year-long tax fraud scheme “orchestrated by the most senior executives,” including Weisselberg, that was “sweeping and audacious.”

Details: "The defendants ... engaged in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud more than one person and to obtain property from more than one person by false and fraudulent pretenses representations and promise," the indictment reads.

  • Prosecutors allege that from 2005 through this June, "defendants and others devised and operated a scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities."
  • "The purpose of the scheme was to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives in a manner that was 'off the books': the beneficiaries of the scheme received substantial portions of their income through indirect and disguised means, with compensation that was unreported..."

Weisselberg surrendered to the Manhattan district attorney's office early Thursday morning.

  • There is no sign Weisselberg is planning to cooperate.

Why it matters: The indictments are the first in Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's long-running investigation into Donald Trump's finances, which has attracted national media attention and triggered a legal battle that twice reached the Supreme Court.

  • Prosecutors have mounted an aggressive effort to pressure the 73-year-old Weisselberg — who has served the Trump family for nearly half a century and has intimate knowledge of the Trump Organization's finances — to cooperate in the investigation.
  • Trump and his family members have reportedly not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing.
  • “I can’t say he’s out of the woods yet completely," Trump lawyer Ron Fischetti told AP on Monday, while deriding prosecutors' findings as highly underwhelming.

How we got here: Vance began investigating the Trump Organization in 2019 after it emerged that the company had reimbursed former Trump fixer Michael Cohen for $130,000 in hush money that he paid to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who claimed to have had an affair with the president.

  • The scope of the inquiry soon grew to encompass a wide range of potential wrongdoing by Trump and his business, including tax benefits and allegations that the company manipulated the value of its properties, according to the New York Times.
  • Vance subpoenaed Trump's financial records in August 2019 and finally secured them in February 2021, after the Supreme Court ended a long-running legal battle over Trump's claims of "absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind" while in office.
  • Trump's lawyers met with prosecutors on Monday as part of a last-ditch effort to persuade them not to bring charges. Vance may not oversee the prosecution if it goes to trial, as he plans to leave office on Dec. 31.

What they're saying: “Today is an important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg," New York Attorney General Letitia James said Thursday. "In the indictment, we allege, among other things, financial wrongdoing whereby the Trump Organization engaged in a scheme with Mr. Weisselberg to avoid paying taxes on certain compensation."

  • "This investigation will continue, and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead," James added.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and issued a blistering statement on Monday condemning the DA investigation as "a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time."

What to watch: Weisselberg’s lawyers, Mary Mulligan and Bryan Skarlatos, said in a statement before his appearance that their client would “fight these charges in court,” per AP. Skarlatos later called Prosecutor Carey Dunne's comments about Weisselberg misleading.

Editor's note: This story is breaking. Please check back for more details.

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi appoints GOP Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Sunday that she has appointed Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to serve on the House select committee investigating the Jan 6. Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Pelosi's announcement comes after she rejected two of the five Republican appointments offered by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Mike Allen, author of AM
57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America's "Friendscape" crisis

New research shows Americans have fewer friends than in the past, and are less likely to have a best friend.

  • Why it matters: At a time of excruciating mental and societal stress, this is another sign we're breaking apart. And the friendship drought could get worse with more people working remotely or hybrid-ly.
Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

⛳️: Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

📺: The Olympic events to watch today

🏊: Athlete spotlight — When to watch swimming star Katie Ledecky

🏀: U.S. Men's basketball suffers first Olympic loss since 2004

🤖: The robot Olympics

🚨: Heat wave brings scorching temperatures to Tokyo Olympics

🎤: Meet the new faces of NBC's Olympics coverage

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage