Politico

Former finance chief of Trump Organization wraps up testimony

NEW YORK — Allen Weisselberg, the star witness in the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal tax fraud trial against the Trump Organization, finished testifying Friday against his longtime employer.

Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer at the organization, testified this week that the company cleaned up its fraudulent tax practices“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”https://www.politico.com/news/2022/11/17/trump-org-illegal-cfo-testifies-00069213″,”_id”:”00000184-8d3b-dd0b-af9f-edff762b0006″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000184-8d3b-dd0b-af9f-edff762b0007″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>company cleaned up its fraudulent tax practices after Donald Trump became president, and it became apparent “everybody was looking at our company from every different angle you could think of.” Two of Trump’s sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., took over as senior officials in 2017.

On Friday, Weisselberg testified that the two Trump sons became aware of elements of the off-the-books compensation scheme once the cleanup was underway. Weisselberg continued that he wasn’t disciplined and was given a $200,000 raise. He remains on the payroll, and the company is paying for his legal representation.

“I told him [Eric Trump] since the practice was no longer going on, I would need the additional income to pay for those expenses,” Weisselberg said.

The Trump organization is accused of providing Weisselberg and other executives with untaxed lavish perks, including apartments, luxury cars and private school tuition. Weisselberg has said that he and other executives knew the practices were illegal before bringing them to an end when Trump took office as president. He had received a free apartment on the Upper West Side, a Mercedes Benz for himself and his wife, and private school tuition for his grandchildren.

Weisselberg has said the company’s controller, Jeffrey McConney, knew the arrangement was illegal. And he said another Trump executive, chief operating officer Matthew Calamari, also had his expenses paid by the company tax-free.

Prosecutors must convince a jury that Trump Organization units — the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation — share responsibility for concealing $1.76 million in compensation“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/31/trump-org-cfo-tax-fraud-jury-00064268″,”_id”:”00000184-8d3b-dd0b-af9f-edff762c0000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000184-8d3b-dd0b-af9f-edff762c0001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>responsibility for concealing $1.76 million in compensation. If convicted, the company could be fined. Neither Trump or his children have been accused of wrongdoing.

Defense attorneys have argued that Weisselberg carried out the scheme on his own. On Friday, they suggested that Weisselberg, who court appearances are part of a plea deal, was trying to avoid jail time by testifying.

“What is in my mind is to tell the truth at this trial,” Weisselberg responded.

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