Ex-CFO Trump tells jury he and others committed tax fraud

(Bloomberg) — Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, testified that he has committed tax fraud along with the company’s controller and the two Trump companies on trial for criminal tax fraud.

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Later Thursday, in state court in Manhattan, the former CFO — who is on leave from the company but still receiving his $640,000 annual salary — got emotional when asked if he betrayed the Trump family.

Weisselberg’s admission that he committed the crimes in conjunction with the Trump companies, Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp., is the linchpin of the case against them. He first admitted it in August when he pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against them. The comptroller, Jeffrey McConney, testified for the prosecution earlier in the trial, but was so evasive that he was declared a hostile witness.

“I committed those crimes with Jeff McConney, who I dealt with directly, and with Trump Payroll and the Trump Corporation,” Weisselberg told the jury, questioned by executive assistant district attorney Susan Hoffinger.

Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg are trying to show that the alleged plan at the Trump companies was not secretly hatched by Weisselberg and McConney, as the defense claims, but was part of the firm’s entrenched business practices. Donald Trump himself, who is not facing charges, has called the trial a baseless vendetta.

Under the terms of his plea deal, Weisselberg must testify truthfully and could eventually serve a short 100-day prison sentence. The maximum sentence for his crimes is 15 years in prison.

Read more: Trump Firm’s Tax Fraud Trial Promises Ex-CFO as Star Witness

During cross-examination, Trump Payroll attorney Alan Futerfas asked Weisselberg about the Trumps themselves.

“Have you made plans with Jeff McConney?” Futerfas asked.

“Yes,” said Weisselberg.

“Have you made plans with a member of the Trump family?” asked the lawyer

“No,” said Weisselberg.

Futerfas went over the criminal counts to Weisselberg.

“That was your W-2?” he asked, referring to the false tax returns Weisselberg pleaded guilty to filing.

“Yes, that was it,” Weisselberg said.

Emotional testimony

Futerfas then asked if he had lived up to the trust the Trump Organization had placed in him.

“Did you betray that trust?” Futerfas asked.

“Yes,” said Weisselberg.

“And you did it for your own personal gain?” Futerfas asked.

“Right,” Weisselberg said.

Read more: Trump CFO was demoted, ‘little birthday cake’ after his plea

The 75-year-old executive — who has worked for the family for half a century, starting under Donald Trump’s father, Fred — became tearful during questioning and his voice cracked with emotion.

“Are you ashamed of what you’ve done?” Futerfas asked.

“More than you can imagine,” Weisselberg said.

“Embarrassed?” the lawyer insisted.

“Yes, very much,” said Weisselberg.

Read more: Trump benefits for Weisselbergs including free rent, tax preparer

“Do you need a break?” Futerfas asked.

“I’m fine,” Weisselberg said.

The judge announced a break anyway. Weisselberg will continue his testimony Thursday afternoon.

The case is People v. Trump Organization, 01473-2021, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).

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