Trump Organization bolsters legal team amid New York probe

The organization - the holding company of hundreds of Trump entities ranging from hotels to golf courses - retained 84-year-old Ronald Fischetti, lawyer Alan Futerfas told AFP.

FILE: Former US President Donald Trump. Picture: AFP.

NEW YORK, United States - The Trump Organization has hired a veteran criminal defense attorney to bolster its legal team, a lawyer confirmed on Friday, as New York prosecutors advance their probe into former president Donald Trump's business dealings.

The organization -- the holding company of hundreds of Trump entities ranging from hotels to golf courses -- retained 84-year-old Ronald Fischetti, lawyer Alan Futerfas told AFP.

"He brings extraordinary experience, a depth of knowledge and wisdom that is invaluable and that we so appreciate," said Futerfas, confirming quotes he gave the Wall Street Journal.

Fischetti worked for several years with Mark Pomerantz, who is at the head of the team of investigators at the Manhattan District Attorney's office looking into whether Trump committed bank and tax fraud.

Trump, who left the White House in January, denies wrongdoing and has described the investigation by Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, as "a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country."

Vance's investigation initially focused on hush payments made to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump but has expanded to allegations of tax evasion, and insurance and bank fraud.

The investigation is being carried out behind closed doors in front of a grand jury. It is unclear if it will lead to an indictment, which would constitute the first against a former president in US history.

But the probe appears to be progressing after Vance's team received eight years of Trump's tax returns last month following a marathon legal battle that went to the Supreme Court.

According to several US media, prosecutors are trying to pressure the Trump Organization's long-time chief financial officer, 73-year-old Allen Weisselberg, to cooperate with their investigation.

On Thursday, investigators collected boxes of financial documents from the ex-wife of Weisselberg's son Barry Weisselberg, who also works for the Trump Organization. He is not accused of wrongdoing.

If Trump, who now lives in Florida, were indicted and found guilty he could face jail time. Lawyers say that is unlikely though with any legal battle expected to last for years.

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