The Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, the former president’s long-serving chief financial officer, have been charged with a “sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme” of tax-related crimes.
It marks the first criminal charges against the former president’s family business after a three-year investigation by New York prosecutors.
Weisselberg, who worked for the Trump family for nearly 50 years, appeared in court on Thursday after surrendering to the authorities and was charged by the Manhattan district attorney with failing to properly report company perks, including school fees, rent-free apartments and cars.
Weisselberg, who surrendered his passport to the court, and a lawyer for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty.
- In a 15-count indictment, Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were charged with a scheme to defraud, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records, report Dominic Rushe and Victoria Bekiempis.
- The arrangement, over 15 years, was “a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” said Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney.
- What now? Trump has been left exposed as prosecutors make their first move in a high-stakes chess game, writes Dominic Rushe.
- What does it all mean? Here’s an explainer of the case.
A wildfire has destroyed a village in Canada after an unprecedented heatwave
A wildfire has destroyed a village in British Columbia, Canada, after days of record-breaking heat. The blaze tore through Lytton, 95 miles north-east of Vancouver, so fast that officials did not have time to issue an evacuation order, reports Leyland Cecco.
After seeing the thick black smoke, residents grabbed a few possessions and escaped. Hours later most of the village’s buildings were on fire.
- It comes after three days of unrelenting heat caused Canada to shatter national records, with temperatures as high as 121.28F (49.6C).
- Meanwhile, in California, hundreds of firefighters are battling several wildfires in forests in the far north of the state, where many people have had to evacuate.
- An investigation has found that the California governor, Gavin Newsom, has dramatically overblown the state’s achievements in tackling wildfires. Gabrielle Canon speaks to the reporter behind the story.
The US has halted all federal executions while the government reviews capital punishment
The US attorney general has issued a moratorium on all federal executions while the justice department carries out a review of capital punishment policies and procedures.
Merrick Garland ordered a pause on scheduling executions, citing its disproportionate impact on people of colour and controversy over the drugs used.
“The Department of Justice must ensure that everyone in the federal criminal justice system is not only afforded the rights guaranteed by the constitution and laws of the United States but is also treated fairly and humanely,” he said.
- It comes after pressure from civil rights and criminal justice advocates to stop federal executions after they were resumed under Donald Trump in July after a 17-year pause.
- Trump oversaw more federal executions than any president in more than 120 years.
US troops leave Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase after nearly 20 years
The US military has left Bagram airfield in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years during which it became the centre of the US’s war to oust the Taliban and find the al-Qaida perpetrators of 9/11.
Two US officials told the Associated Press on Friday that the airfield had been entirely handed over to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force.
But one of the officials said that Gen Austin S Miller, the US top commander in Afghanistan, “still retains all the capabilities and authorities to protect the forces”.
- President Joe Biden has promised that the remaining US troops will be gone by 11 September.
- Joe Biden told of the “resilience” of the relatives of the victims of Miami’s deadly condominium collapse after spending several hours with them at the site as they wait for news of their loved ones. Joe and Jill Biden also met first responders and rescue workers who have been painstakingly searching for survivors in the rubble of Surfside’s Champlain Towers South. So far, 18 bodies have been recovered and 145 people are unaccounted for.
- The Virgin Galactic founder, Richard Branson, has announced that he will join a test flight on 11 July – beating the fellow billionaire Amazon’s Jeff Bezos into space by nine days. It came just hours after it was announced that Bezos would be accompanied into space on 20 July by Wally Funk, a female aerospace pioneer.
- The American athlete Sha’Carri Richardson, who has been described as the most exciting sprinter since Usain Bolt, has reportedly tested positive for cannabis. It means she is unlikely to get the opportunity to challenge for the Olympic 100-metre title in Tokyo later this month. The Texan established herself as a gold medal contender at the US Olympic trial last month where she won the 100 metres in 10.86sec. The 21-year-old from Dallas will appear on NBC’s Today Show on Friday.
- Statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II have been toppled in Canada as outrage mounts over the discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves belonging to Indigenous children. The statues at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg were pulled down on Thursday, Canada Day, which marks the country’s confederation.
At its peak, more than 100,000 US troops passed through Bagram airfield.
Every year, about 4 million people visit Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, to see its most famous geyser, Old Faithful, which shoots tens of thousands of litres of boiling water into the air multiple times a day. But if temperatures rise by 10F by the end of the century, as predicted, it could stop erupting and the ramifications could be huge, writes Adam Pompescu.
… or this: after Britney Spears’ testimony that shocked the world, lawmakers are pushing to change conservatorship rules
An estimated 1.3 million adults are subject to guardianship in the US. When Britney Spears testified in court last week about the alleged control her father has on every element of her life through conservatorship, she put the issue back in the spotlight. Sam Levin reports on the disability rights activists and lawmakers pushing to overhaul the system.
Last Thing: From turkey farmer to military consultant and doula, 10 of the best popstar career changes
After giving up boyband life, the JLS singer JB Gill retreated to a 15-acre turkey farm. Jazz-rock guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter pivoted to become a US military consultant. Meanwhile, as well as being a neo-soul pioneer, Erykah Badu also works as a doula (under the name Badoula) and has delivered more than 40 babies. Martin Horsfield charts the 10 best popstar career changes.