On Monday, the defense team in the New York criminal tax fraud trial of former President Donald Trump’s international real estate corporation outlined their plan of attack: keep the former leader and anybody else with the Trump name out of the spotlight.
The Trump Organization allegedly ran a 15-year scheme to defraud tax authorities by giving top executives significant compensation in the form of untaxed “perks” like luxury cars and rent-free Trump-branded apartments, according to prosecutors in the high-profile trial taking place in lower Manhattan’s New York Supreme Court.
In her opening remarks to the jury on Monday, Susan Necheles, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, stated that former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was the “starting point” and “the finishing point” of the fraud plan.
Over the summer, Weisselberg entered a guilty plea to the tax-evasion scheme. In exchange for a plea bargain, he consented to testify truthfully about his role. Weisselberg is required to repay $2 million and serve five months in jail as part of the agreement.
He and two other significant prosecution witnesses, however, are still employed by Trump and have been working with his legal team.
On the witness stand, it can be assumed that all three will support the Trump defense, which maintains that the tax-dodging scheme was a plot by rogue Trump Organization executives who conspired to conceal it from the company’s highest-ranking members, including Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and the former president, who served as its owner and sole beneficiary.
Necheles informed the jury, which was made up of four women and eight men, that “Donald Trump didn’t know that Allen Weisselberg was cheating on Allen Weisselberg’s tax returns.” “The proof will be overwhelming on that,”
She insisted that “Allen Weisselberg does not own the Trump Organization.”
Michael van der Veen, another lawyer for the Trump Organization, made it into a sort of maxim. He spoke the phrase “Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg” no less than four times in his beginnings.
Donald Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, is on trial this week for criminal tax fraud — what prosecutors say was a 15-year scheme by top officials to avoid paying taxes.
Lawyers arrived at court Monday for opening statements. https://t.co/sJoynZjO7o
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 31, 2022
Weisselberg was compared by Van der Veen to a “prodigal son” who abandoned his “family”—the Trump family—through his greedy scheme.
Van der Veen used a Biblical analogy to explain away a tricky situation: Weisselberg and other prosecution witnesses are still being given wages and even have their legal defenses financed by Trump. Nevertheless, Weisselberg the “son” was kept in the family fold, he added.
Van der Veen asserted that the reason Weisselberg was kept on the payroll was out of generosity and forgiveness.
The attorney said, “He made mistakes.”
He continued, refuting the assertion of the prosecution that the Trump Organization unmistakably benefited from a scheme that kept their top executives happy and saved them money on Medicare contributions. “Serious mistakes that have put his liberty in jeopardy… crimes that have hurt his company,” he said.
#Trump Organization: Criminal tax fraud trial begins in New York#TrumpFascist #TrumpTraitor #donaldtrump #TrumpRapist #TrumpLies #Russia #TrumpRacist #TrumpLoser #Fascism #BunkerBoy #terrorism #Coup #ArrestTrumpNow https://t.co/NAM50asUXq
— Oden (@Gjallarhornet) November 1, 2022
Van der Veen continued, “He has been relieved of his duties as chief financial officer. However, he has not lost his ability to provide for his [own] family financially.”
The core of our defense, he continued, is that Allen Weisselberg didn’t take any actions at all to help the Trump Payroll Corporation.
Weisselberg and other top officials of the Trump Organization are employed directly by The Trump Corporation, a division of the Trump Organization. The division responsible for handling payroll is called the Trump Payroll Corporation. Both are defendants in the case and operate as the Trump Organization.
Weisselberg has acknowledged receiving $1.7 million in tax-free benefits over 15 years, including free use of Trump-branded condominiums on Manhattan’s Hudson River, tuition for his granddaughters’ elite schools, and Mercedes-Benz luxury cars for him and his wife.
According to the prosecution, he avoided paying roughly a million dollars in taxes over 15 years.
The criminal trial for the Trump Organization has begun in New York with the prosecution and defence giving their opening statements. Trump's company was charged with tax fraud in July 2021, over allegations it helped executives cheat their own taxeshttps://t.co/sL4vBYcuM5
— alpнacenтaυrї (@alphacentauriii) November 1, 2022
The prosecution’s motto, which was that Weisselberg was a “top management agent,” a three-word phrase that was repeated throughout prosecutors’ openings, was a little less memorable than the defense’s, “Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg.”
The prosecution must demonstrate that Weisselberg and former controller Jeff McConney, a second executive who reported to him, were both “high managerial agents” under the legislation, which means they were so high up in the organization that they might be compared to the organization itself.
In her opening remarks, Susan Hoffinger, the Manhattan district attorney’s investigations head, stated that “the conspiracy was executed and authorized… at the highest level.” To prove Donald Trump’s involvement in the scam, she promised the jury entries in his bank ledger and a check he signed.
She informed the jury, “Greed and deceit are at the heart of this case.” The phrase “tax fraud.”
Hoffinger informed them that Weisselberg received $1.76 million in benefits from Trump’s company during the previous 15 years, “and even got paid cash for his holiday gifts.”
She stated that she would “zero in on the paper trail,” which would include W2 forms and other tax records that she claimed were fabricated to conceal the benefits from tax officials.
The criminal trial of Donald Trump’s family real estate business has opened in New York City. While the Trump Organization is accused of committing tax fraud, the former US president himself is unlikely to take the stand.https://t.co/M9pemjyHLf
— Al-Ahed News (@English_AlAhed) November 1, 2022
She posed the rhetorical question, “Why not just pay Allen Weisselberg a raise?” before responding, “because doing so legally would have cost the Trump Organization more.”
According to her, this involved Weisselberg paying more in income taxes as well as the business paying more in Medicare payments and withholding taxes.
Additionally, she claimed, the business was able to “keep its valued chief financial officer happy by paying him more.”
Here, everyone succeeds, she declared. “Allen Weisselberg and his business… The issue with carrying it out in this manner is that it is illegal.”
New York prosecutors set the table for the criminal tax fraud trial against the Trump Organization, telling jurors the case is about “greed and cheating.” https://t.co/9i8Er5FGnv
— Tony Montana (@TownyMontana) November 1, 2022
In New York, a criminal trial has begun against the Trump Organization, which is accused of giving its executives tax-free perks for 15 years. Donald Trump is often used as a synonym for the real estate business run by the former president’s family, but neither he nor any of his family members are on trial.
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