On Thursday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. brought 15 charges against the Trump Organization and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg regarding a 16-year tax evasion scheme. The newly released document mentions a mysterious figure — “unindicted co-conspirator #1.” This launched rabid speculation as to the identity of the individual in question and whether or not the person had betrayed the Trump Organization and former President Donald Trump.
The document mentions the mysterious figure three times.
In addressing the second count, Vance alleges that “the defendants and Unindicted Co-conspirator #1, in the County of New York and elsewhere, during the period from on or about March 31, 2005 to on or about June 30, 2021, with intent that conduct constituting a class C felony, to wit, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, be performed, agreed with one or more persons to engage in and cause the performance of such conduct.”
In laying out the operation of the conspiracy, the document claims that “from at least 2005 through the date of this indictment, the named defendants and others, including Unindicted Co-conspirator #1, agreed to and implemented a compensation scheme with the object of enabling Weisselberg to underreport his income to federal authorities, and thereby evade taxes and falsely claim federal tax refunds to which he was not entitled.”
Finally, the document alleges that “the Trump Corporation, acting through its agent, Unindicted Co-conspirator #1, underreported Allen Weisselberg’s taxable income for the tax year 2009.”
Vox’s Aaron Rupar cleverly suggested that Donald Trump himself is “Unindicted Co-conspirator #1.” Federal prosecutors had referred to Trump as “Individual-1” in prosecuting Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. “OLD: Individual 1. NEW: Unindicted co-conspirator 1,” Rupar tweeted.
Daniel Goldman, an attorney who worked with Democrats in the impeachment efforts against Trump, admitted that it was not easy to determine the identity of the mysterious figure, but he argued that it could be Trump himself.
“It’s hard to decipher exactly, but on p. 15, Unindicted co-conspirator 1 is the agent of the Trump Org underreported Weisselberg’s income. That seems to me likely to be former President Donald Trump,” Goldman tweeted.
It’s hard to decipher exactly, but on p. 15, Unindicted co-conspirator 1 is the agent of the Trump Org underreported Weisselberg’s income. That seems to me likely to be former President Donald Trump. https://t.co/63j9SH1uOk
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) July 1, 2021
Yet others suggested that they knew the mysterious figure wasn’t Trump.
“It’s our understanding and reporting that the referenced unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment is not former President Donald Trump. If we get reporting on who it is we will include it in our stories but right now any other name is speculation,” NBC News Correspondent Tom Winter tweeted.
The document also refers to Trump by name, noting that “the Trump Organization is a trade name that embraces a number of privately held corporate and partnership entities whose beneficial owners include Donald J. Trump.” The fact that the document mentions Trump by name suggests that the former president is not the co-conspirator.
Business Insider noted that the unindicted co-conspirator must be “someone who would be in a position to underreport Weisselberg’s taxable income in 2009.” While that could be Trump himself, it could also be Jeffrey McConney, the Trump Organization controller.
Investigative journalist Scott Stedman said that various rumors have identified McConney as the co-conspirator.
“Word on the street is that McConney is unindicted co-conspirator #1. What that means is that he is very likely cooperating with Vance or else he would’ve been charged. McConney was the Trump Org Controller for 30+ years,” Stedman tweeted.
Business Insider also suggested the co-conspirator could be “another tax preparer,” an entity such as Mazars USA — a third-party tax firm that handed over copious documents to Vance’s office after the DA subpoenaed it — or a third-party accountant.
Others have noted that Donald Trump Jr. may be the co-conspirator, since he served as executive vice president running the organization.
The unnamed “unindicted co-conspirator” may or may not have cooperated with prosecutors, and he or she (or it, in the case of an entity) may or may not face charges down the line.