New York prosecutors on Tuesday called Allen Weisselberg, who had worked for the Trump Organization for half a century, to testify against the company as part of their case.
Weisselberg told the court that after pleading guilty to the Trump Organization’s fraud and tax evasion charges in August, he continued to work for the company for two months.
Weisselberg, the company’s former chief financial officer, spoke to Eric Trump “regularly” as part of his job during that time, he said. Weisselberg said he’s still on the company’s payroll and earning a $640,000 salary.
A prosecutor asked: Does he get the expected annual bonus of $500,000?
“Hopefully,” Weisselberg said, before admitting it’s because of Eric Trump.
Annual bonuses received by Weisselberg and other executives are at the center of the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against the company. For years, the company paid the bonuses to executives using a variety of methods, including portraying the executives as independent contractors for Trump Organization companies, both sides admitted in court.
Two entities from the Trump Organization and Weisselberg are being charged by the Manhattan Attorney’s Office in more than a dozen counts of fraud and tax evasion. Weisselbergand admitted he received more than $1.7 million in untaxed compensation in luxury perks.
Weisselberg testified Tuesday that he assumed the title of senior counsel after his indictment in 2021 and continued to work out of Trump Tower, where he held many of the same responsibilities as before his arrest. Those responsibilities included regular meetings with Eric Trump, the former president’s son, who oversees the company’s day-to-day operations, Weisselberg said.
who were agreed to enjoy lavish untaxed corporate benefits have been the focus of the trial, which began on October 31.
Prosecutors allege Weisselberg was part of a corporate scheme to help executives “cheat” their taxes. The Trump Organization denies wrongdoing and says Weisselberg acted independently and hid the tax system from the company.
Weisselberg and his wife Hilary lived in an $8,200-a-month company-owned apartment under a lease signed by Donald Trump himself while driving luxury cars paid for by the Trump Organization. His son, Barry Weisselberg, who also worked for the company, paid just $1,000 a month to live in a high-rise overlooking Central Park, well below the usual rates for this high-demand location.
The first witness to take the stand, Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, was subpoenaed by prosecutors early in the trial and testified for more than five days, spread over more than two weeks after McConney tested positive and then himself recovered from it. COVID-19.
McConney was declared an enemy witness Monday after the judge said McConney avoided providing meaningful answers to even basic questions.
Judge Juan Merchan said McConney was having “difficulty providing very credible answers” to prosecutors’ questions, while “it is pretty clear to the average observer that he is very helpful to Trump Organization attorneys.”
McConney has a company-paid attorney and met with Trump Organization attorneys during the trial, he and she have acknowledged.
When questioned by company lawyers, McConney said he was misled by Weisselberg and an outside accountant about certain tax practices. When asked by attorneys on both sides if he helped Weisselberg and another executive “cheat” taxes, McConney admitted he did.
As part of Weisselberg’s plea deal with prosecutors, he agreed to testify in the case. Merchan is expected to address Weisselberg’s formal conviction at a hearing scheduled for November 28. Weisselberg’s deal with prosecutors includes a five-month sentence in New York’s Rikers Island prison, followed by five years of probation. He also has $1.9 million in back taxes and fines to pay.