Trump Group CFO Allen Weisselberg pleads not responsible to tax crimes

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.

A 15-count indictment says the Trump Organization and Weisselberg devised a scheme to compensate Weisselberg and other company executives in an “off the books” manner, in which they “received substantial portions of their income through indirect and disguised means.”

Weisselberg himself had the rent, utilities and garage expenses paid for his apartment on Riverside Drive on Manhattan’s Upper West Side paid for by the Trump Organization without that compensation being reported to tax authorities, and without the required payment of taxes on the benefits, the indictment says.

And that charging documents says Weisselberg and the company also schemed to “conceal his status as a New York City resident and enabled Weisselberg to avoid the payment of New York City income taxes.”

Weisselberg has another residence on Long Island, New York, but the indictment says that since 2005, Weisselberg “spent most of his days in New York City,” which would make him a city resident for tax purposes.

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.

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Weisselberg personally “avoided taxes” on compensation valued as high at $1.76 million as part of the 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.” 

The indictment against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg said the scheme lasted from March 2005 through the end of this June.

“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.

Outside of court after the arraignment, Trump Organization lawyer Alan Futerfas told reporters, “The allegations in the indictment are just that, they are allegations.”

“These charges are going to be vigorously contested,” Futerfas said.

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.

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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.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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