Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of Trump Organization Inc., center, walks towards a courtroom at criminal court in New York, U.S., on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
Stephanie Keith | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Trump Organization’s long-time chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty Thursday to tax-related crimes that include scheme to defraud and grand larceny in a Manhattan court, where the company also was hit with related criminal charges.
Weisselberg personally “avoided taxes of $1.7 million” as part of a scheme “orchestrated by the most senior executives” at the Trump Organization, which is owned by former President Donald Trump, a prosecutor said.
Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Carey Dunne said in court that Weisselberg’s crimes were part of a “sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme.”
“This case is not about politics, this investigation which is ongoing, is proper,” Dunne said.
The Trump Organization and related entities were charged with Weisselberg with scheme to defraud in the first degree, fourth-degree conspiracy, criminal tax fraud in the third- and fourth-degree, and falsifying business records.
Cyrus Roberts Vance Jr. District Attorney of New York County and New York State Attorney General Letitia James arrive in court for the hearing of Allen Weisselberg, former US President Donald Trumps company chief financial officer at the criminal court in lower Manhattan in New York on July 1, 2021.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
Weisselberg, 73, was taken into the courtroom in handcuffs by authorities while wearing white mask.
Weisselberg’s attorney told a judge that the defense team objected to the claims of prosecutors.
A special grand jury issued the indictment on Wednesday against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization.
Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office has been investigating the Trump Organization for several years. In recent months, investigators from New York state Attorney General Letitia James joined his probe.
James was in attendance with Vance in the courtroom.
Last year, Vance won a legal battle that allowed him to obtain years of ex-President Trump’s tax records and other financial documents from his long-time accounting firm.
The Trump Organization, in a statement, criticized Vance for bringing the case.
“Allen Weisselberg is a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather who has worked at the Trump Organization for 48 years,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.
“He is now being used by the Manhattan District Attorney as a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former President,” the spokesperson said.
“The District Attorney is bringing a criminal prosecution involving employee benefits that neither the IRS nor any other District Attorney would ever think of bringing. This is not justice; this is politics.”
Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has repeatedly met with Vance’s investigators to assist them with their probe.
Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg also has given prosecutors information. Her ex-ex-husband Barry Weisselberg also works for the Trump Organization.
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