Trump Org.’s Longtime CFO Testifies At Company’s Tax Fraud Trial: Allen Weisselberg was once close to former President Donald Trump, his family, and his businesses. On Thursday, he fought back tears as he admitted that he had broken their trust by committing tax fraud crimes to make money for himself.
The former CFO of the Trump Organization said this during a cross-examination by a lawyer for one of the Trump companies. This came soon after his testimony as a witness for the prosecution, in which he blamed another Trump executive and one of the Trump Organization’s many businesses for the crimes.
Alan Futerfas, the lawyer for the defence, said that Weisselberg had worked for the Trump family for about 50 years, rising to the position of a chief financial officer and being trusted with all of the business empire’s financial and accounting records. Then he started talking quickly in court.
“Did you live up to the trust that was put in you, Mr Weisselberg?” asked Futerfas.
Weisselberg said that he wasn’t.
“And you did it to help yourself?” the defence lawyer asked.
“I did,” said Weisselberg.
“Does what you did make you feel bad about yourself?” Futerfas asked.
Weisselberg said, “More than you can think.”
After pleading guilty in August to all the criminal counts against him and the two companies in a 2021 indictment, the now-former CFO became the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s most important witness against the two Trump companies.
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Trump is not charged in the case and is not expected to show up at the trial. He recently said he wants to run for president again in 2024.
Weisselberg’s guilty plea was part of a deal with prosecutors that required him to testify against the accused Trump firms in exchange for a lighter sentence: about 100 days in jail instead of the maximum of 15 years.
Weisselberg’s Thursday testimony, in which he answered questions from prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, showed that the Trump companies benefited from the illegal financial moves he used to avoid paying federal, state, and New York City taxes by paying him lower salaries and getting lower costs for the Medicaid part of payroll costs.
Former CFO of Trump Organization turns on Trump and his family. Allen Weisselberg testifies in court Donald Trump, Don Jr, and Eric Trump were directly involved in a massive fraud scheme. (CBS News) pic.twitter.com/AzTSZkrtfV
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) November 17, 2022
One way Trump got out of paying the private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren was by cutting his salary and bonus. Even though he said it was the right thing to do, Weisselberg admitted that the move still let him pay his bills with money he had before taxes. This was a big saving.
Weisselberg’s testimony about the effect on the companies is important because, under New York law, to find the Trump companies guilty, it would have to be shown that the tax-free payments were improperly directed by a high-ranking executive as part of their job and were made “on behalf” of the companies.
Futerfas tried to discredit that testimony by asking questions that made Weisselberg say that most of the counts in the indictment were about him lying on his own tax returns and other crimes he had already admitted to.
Trump's former CFO just said in court that Trump authorized the tax scheme the Trump Org is currently on trial for.https://t.co/9K8KgZN4LX
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) November 17, 2022
“Your company has never seen your tax returns, right?” Futerfas asked.
“That is right,” Weisselberg said.
The disgraced former Trump executive said that the only person who worked with him and knew about his schemes to avoid paying taxes was the Trump Corporation’s controller, Jeffrey McConney.
McConney was given immunity from prosecution, and earlier in the trial, he testified against the companies, sometimes as a hostile witness. He said that Weisselberg was the main person in the schemes to not pay taxes.
Cross-examination of Futerfas Thursday seemed to be a repeat of one of the defence team’s first arguments, which called Weisselberg a “prodigal son” who had let down the Trump family.
Futerfas asked, “Wasn’t it your job to protect the family and their businesses from this kind of behaviour?”
“Yes,” said Weisselberg.
The trial is set to start up again on Friday.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.