(Bloomberg) — The Trump organization’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, testified that he cheated on taxes with the firm’s controller and the two Trump companies on trial for criminal tax fraud.
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Later Thursday, in state court in Manhattan, the former CEO — who is on leave from the firm but still drawing his $640,000 annual salary — grew emotional when asked if he betrayed the Trump family.
Weisselberg’s admission is that he committed the crimes together with the Trump companies, Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp., the crux of the case against them. He admitted it for the first time in August when he pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against them. The governor, Jeffrey McConney, testified for the prosecution earlier in the trial but was so evasive that he was declared a hostile witness.
“I committed those crimes with Jeff McConney, who I dealt directly with, and Trump Payroll and the Trump Corporation,” Weisselberg told the jury, under questioning by Executive Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecutors are trying to show that Weisselberg and McConney did not secretly embezzle the alleged scheme at Trump companies, as the defense says, but that it was part of the firm’s business practices. . Donald Trump himself, who has not been charged, called the trial a baseless vendetta.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Weisselberg must testify truthfully and then he could face as little as 100 days in jail. The maximum term for his crimes is 15 years in prison.
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On cross-examination, defense attorney Alan Futerfas of Trump Payroll asked Weisselberg about the Trumps themselves.
“You schemed with Jeff McConney?” Futerfas asked.
“Yes,” said Weisselberg.
“Did you scheme with any member of the Trump family?” asked the lawyer
“No,” Weisselberg said.
Futerfas went through the criminal counts before Weisselberg.
“That’s your W-2?” he asked, referring to the false tax returns Weisselberg pleaded guilty to filing.
“Yes, it was,” Weisselberg said.
Futerfas then asked if he had lived up to the trust the Trump Organization had placed in him.
“Did you betray that trust?” Futerfas asked.
“Yes,” said Weisselberg.
“And you did it for your own personal gain?” Futerfas asked.
“Right,” Weisselberg said.
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The 75-year-old executive — who has worked for the family for half a century, starting under Donald Trump’s father, Fred — broke down in tears, his voice cracking with emotion, as the questioning continued.
“Are you ashamed of what you did?” Futerfas asked.
“More than you can imagine,” Weisselberg said.
“Shame?” the attorney pressed.
“Yeah, pretty much,” Weisselberg said.
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“Do you want a break?” Futerfas asked.
“I’m fine,” Weisselberg said.
The judge announced a break anyway. Weisselberg is scheduled to continue his testimony Thursday afternoon.
The case is People v. Trump Organization, 01473-2021, Supreme Court of the State of New York (Manhattan).
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