The Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty on Thursday of crimes related to what prosecutors called a “comprehensive and bold” scheme to tax the compensation of the CFO and other company executives owned by the company avoid former presidents Donald Trump
A 15-point indictment states that the Trump Organization and Weisselberg developed a plan to compensate Weisselberg and other company executives “out of the books” by obtaining “significant portions of their income through indirect and disguised funds.” to have”.
Weisselberg himself had the Trump Organization pay the rent, utilities and garage costs for his apartment on Riverside Drive in Manhattan’s Upper West Side without reporting that compensation to the tax office and without paying taxes on the services required, the prosecution says.
And those fee documents state that Weisselberg and the company also planned to “hide his New York City resident status and allow Weisselberg to avoid paying New York income taxes.”
Weisselberg has another residence on Long Island, New York, but the indictment states that Weisselberg has “spent most of his days in New York City since 2005,” which would make him a city dweller for tax reasons.
Allen Weisselberg, Chief Financial Officer of Trump Organization Inc., Center, walks toward a criminal court in New York, United States, on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
Stephanie Keith | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Weisselberg personally “avoided taxes” on compensation worth up to 1.76 million US dollars under the program, which was staged “by the top executives” of the Trump organization, a prosecutor said.
Manhattan Assistant Attorney Carey Dunne said in court that Weisselberg’s crimes were part of a “comprehensive and audacious illegal payment scheme”.
The indictment against the Trump Organization and Weißelberg states that the program lasted from March 2005 to the end of June.
“This case is not about politics, this investigation, which is still ongoing, is appropriate,” said Dunne.
The Trump Organization and affiliates have been charged with first degree fraud plot, fourth degree conspiracy, third and fourth degree criminal tax fraud, and forgery of business records.
Weisseberg is also charged with second degree theft.
Outside of court after the indictment, Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas told reporters, “The charges in the indictment are just that, they are allegations.”
“These charges are being vigorously challenged,” said Futerfas.
Futerfas also said the charges are “unprecedented” and normally would not have been brought by the IRS or any other agency. He said he believed the charges were brought on political grounds.
“If the company’s name were different, I don’t think these charges would have been brought. In fact, I’m pretty sure,” he said.
New York County District Attorney Cyrus Roberts Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James will appear in court in July for Allen Weisselberg, former US President Donald Trump’s chief financial officer, in the Criminal Court in Lower Manhattan on New York City on July 1, 2021.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
Weißelberg, 73, was led into the courtroom in handcuffs with a white mask.
Weißelberg’s attorney told a judge that the defense had objected to the prosecutor’s allegations.
A special grand jury issued the indictment against Weißelberg and the Trump organization on Wednesday.
Manhattan office DA Cyrus Vance Jr. has been investigating the Trump organization for several years. Over the past few months, New York Attorney General Letitia James has joined his investigation.
James was in the courtroom with Vance.
Last year, Vance won a lawsuit that enabled him to get years of tax records and other financial documents from ex-President Trump from his long-time accounting firm.
The Trump Organization issued a statement criticizing Vance for bringing the case forward.
“Allen Weisselberg is a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather who worked for the Trump organization for 48 years,” a company spokesman said in a statement.
“He is now being used by the Manhattan District Attorney as a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former president,” the spokesman said.
“The District Attorney is filing a criminal prosecution with employee benefits that neither the IRS nor any other District Attorney would ever think of. That’s not justice, that’s politics. “
Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen has met with Vance’s investigators repeatedly to assist them in their investigation.
Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg also gave the prosecutor information. Her ex-ex-husband Barry Weisselberg also works for the Trump organization.
This is the latest news. Check back for updates.