Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial
officer, pleaded not guilty to tax fraud and other charges Thursday — as
lawyers for the company blasted the prosecution as a politically driven
effort by Manhattan DA Cy Vance to target former President Donald Trump.
In addition to the tax fraud rap, Weisselberg, who prosecutors made a show
of leading through the court hallway in handcuffs,was also hit with
conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records charges,
prosecutors said in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Attorneys for the Trump Organization and the Trump Payroll Corp. also
appeared in court and entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the
Prosecutors charged the company and Weisselberg engaged in a 15-year tax
fraud scheme to pay the CFO — a longtime Trump loyalist — and other
executives at the company in “manner that was ‘off the books,’” according
to an indictment unsealed soon after the court appearance.
“The beneficiaries of the scheme received substantial portions of their
income through indirect and disguised means, with compensation that was
unreported or misreported by the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll
Corp,” the indictment states.
An attorney for the Trump Organization called the prosecution politically
“This case should have never been brought. It’s a political prosecution,”
Susan Necheles said outside of court.
Another Trump Organization lawyer, Alan Futerfas, said, “If the name of
the company was something else, these charges would not have been
Prosecutors charged Weisselberg received “indirect compensation” of more
than $1.7 million during the 15 years. He allegedly accepted a number of
gifts from the organization, including free rent at a Manhattan apartment,
luxury cars and private school tuition for his family members — but failed
to pay taxes on the bonuses.
Weisselberg appeared in handcuffs at the hearing and appeared frazzled and
red in the face.
He was ordered to surrender his passport after prosecutors called him a
flight risk with access to private jets for foreign travel. He was
released without bail, however, and left the courthouse without commenting
to assembled reporters.
In a statement prior to his arraignment Thursday, Weisselberg’s attorneys,
Mary Mulligan and Bryan Skarlatos, said he intends to fight the charges in
The indictment against the longtime Trump confidante are the first charges
brought by Vance, who, along with New York Attorney General Letitia James,
have been investigating Trump’s business empire for two years.
Vance, who leaves office at the end of the year, has been conducting a
wide-ranging investigation into a variety of matters involving Trump and
the Trump Organization for more than three years. Both prosecutors, who
are Democrats, watched from the gallery as Weisselberg appeared in the
11th-floor courtroom at 100 Centre Street in Lower Manhattan.
“Today is an important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation of the
Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg,” James said in a
“This investigation will continue, and we will follow the facts and the
law wherever they may lead,” she added.
In a statement earlier Thursday, the Trump Organization blasted the
prosecution, calling Weisselberg “a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to
harm the former president.”
“This is not justice; this is politics,” the company said.
Trump also slammed the impending indictment last week, saying it’s the
work of “radical left prosecutors” who are “rude, nasty, and totally
A lawyer for Trump told The Post previously that the former president is
not expected to be charged this week — and ripped the charges against
Weisselberg, which had not yet been filed.
“In my more than 50 years of practice, never before have I seen the
District Attorney’s Office target a company over employee compensation or
fringe benefits,” attorney Ron Fischetti said in a statement last Friday.
“The IRS would not, and has not, brought a case like this. Even the
financial institutions responsible for causing the 2008 financial crises,
the worst financial crisis since the great depression, were not
prosecuted,” he added.
With Post wires
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President Trump boosted the economy, reduced illegal invasions, appointed
dozens of judges and three SCOTUS justices.