Trump Organization CFO tax evasion trial set for October

NEW YORK (AP) – On Friday, wrapping up a special week in Donald Trump’s presidency, a New York judge ruled his company and its longtime chief financial officer amid a lengthy criminal investigation into Trump. I ordered him to go to court in the fall on charges of tax evasion. business practices.

Manhattan Judge Juan Manuel Marchan was scheduled to select jurors on October 24. These include allegations that the Trump Organization gave CFO Allen Weisselberg more than $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation, including rent, car payments, and school tuition.

Lawyers at Friday’s hearing suggested the trial could last for months.

Marchan rejected requests by Weisselberg’s attorneys and the Trump Organization to dismiss the case, but dropped one criminal tax fraud charge against the company on the grounds of a statute of limitations. Weisselberg’s attorneys argued that prosecutors in the Democratic-led Manhattan District Attorney’s Office were punishing Weisselberg for failing to overthrow the former president.

Merchan said that the evidence presented to the grand jury was “legally sufficient to support the charge of prosecution,” that these proceedings were properly conducted, and that “the good faith was not compromised.” refused.

If the schedule is followed, Weisselberg and the Trump Organization could go on trial during the November midterm elections, with Trump’s Republican Party gaining control of one or both houses of Congress. has laid the groundwork for a campaign that could lead to his return to office in 2024.

Criminal trials are just one of several legal issues unfolding in real time in President Trump’s orbit. FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in a separate investigation on Monday, and on Thursday he and the U.S. Department of Justice asked for the release of search warrant documents.

Trump was held Wednesday for depositions while New York Attorney General Letitia James wrapped up a civil investigation into allegations that the Trump firm misled lenders and tax authorities about the value of its assets. sat down. Trump has exercised his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.

Trump has not been charged with a criminal investigation, but prosecutors have noted that he signed some of the checks at the center of the case. The denounced Trump said his firm’s actions were standard practice in the real estate business and were in no way criminal. James is a Democrat.

Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty.

The most serious charge against Weisselberg is grand theft, which carries a sentence of five to 15 years in prison. Tax evasion against the company is punishable by a fine of twice her amount in unpaid taxes or $250,000, whichever is greater.

Weisselberg, who turns 75 on Monday, is the only Trump executive to be indicted in a years-long criminal investigation started by former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who went to the Supreme Court to secure Trump’s tax records. Vance’s successor, Alvin Bragg, is now overseeing the investigation. Several other Trump officials have been granted immunity to testify before a grand jury in this case.

Prosecutors allege that Weisselberg and the Trump Organization planned to give senior executives, including Weisselberg, off-the-books compensation for 15 years. was accused of defrauding of unpaid taxes and unfair tax refunds.

In the months since Weisselberg’s arrest, the criminal investigation seemed to be moving toward possible criminal charges against Trump himself, but the investigation slowed and the grand jury was disbanded after Bragg took office in January. , the Supreme Prosecutor left. Ongoing.

The criminal investigation is separate from James’s civil investigation and could lead to lawsuits and fines against Trump and his company, but her office is involved in both investigations.James is a Manhattan prosecutor. It sent several attorneys to work with the government, and it was the evidence uncovered in the civil investigation that led to the criminal charges against Weisselberg.

(Written by Michael R Sisak, AP writer. Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.)

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