Trump Organization defense rests case in criminal tax fraud trial

  • In US
  • 2022-11-28 21:46:54Z
  • By Reuters

By Luc Cohen and Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lawyers for former U.S. President Donald Trump's real estate company rested their case on Monday after calling just two witnesses in the Trump Organization's criminal trial in a New York state court on tax fraud charges.

Outside accountant Donald Bender wrapped up his testimony for the defense and was followed on the witness stand by a paralegal from the offices of one of the defense lawyers. Juan Merchan, the judge in the case, set closing arguments for Thursday and Friday with jury deliberations expected to begin next Monday.

Prosecutors in Manhattan have accused the Trump Organization, which operates hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world, of conducting a 15-year tax fraud scheme to pay personal expenses for executives and partly compensate them as if they were independent contractors.

The company, which faces fines of up to $1.6 million if convicted, has pleaded not guilty. Trump, who this month launched a run for the presidency in 2024, has not been charged in the case.

The prosecution rested its case a week ago.

The Trump Organization has sought to shift the blame to former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who was charged last year along with the company and has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and other charges, and Bender, who it maintains should have blown the whistle on Weisselberg's conduct.

Bender, who has been given immunity from prosecution, testified last week that he trusted that Weisselberg gave him accurate financial information, and that his role was limited.

"We had robust conversations," Bender testified on Monday, explaining that Weisselberg said he met the criteria to be paid as an independent contractor.

Bender's testimony appeared to backfire on the defense and bolster the prosecution's case.

Weisselberg has worked for the Trump family for about five decades, but is no longer CFO and is on paid leave. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Weisselberg is set to serve a five-month jail sentence.

He and several other executives improperly received bonus payments as non-employee compensation, trial evidence showed. The company also provided luxury apartments, car leases and paid for other personal expenses for Weisselberg and other executives, which were not reported as income.

Trump, a Republican, has called the charges against the company politically motivated. Alvin Bragg, the current Manhattan district attorney, is a Democrat, as is the DA who brought the charges last year, Cyrus Vance.

"The case was not fair or good," Trump wrote on Monday on social media.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Will Dunham and Noeleen Walder)


More Related News

Selling Trump Isn
Selling Trump Isn't What It Used to Be

When Donald Trump announced his foray into NFTs late last year, capitalizing on public interest in his presidential campaign to sell cartoonish virtual...

Eric Trump Blames Dad
Eric Trump Blames Dad's Beloved Brexit For Millions In Losses At Scottish Golf Courses

Donald Trump had hailed the U.K.'s departure from the European Union as a "great thing" for Britain and for business.

This week in politics: China spy balloon, Haley enters
This week in politics: China spy balloon, Haley enters '24 race, Omar ditched from House committee

What happened this week in politics? Biden and McCarthy met at the White House to talk debt ceiling and news of a Nikki Haley White House run leaked.

The race for the 2024 election is on. But who will take on Trump?
The race for the 2024 election is on. But who will take on Trump?

The ex-president is daring Republican challengers to make the first move - and some are preparing to attack

Republicans Push To Rename Part Of John Lewis Way In Nashville To
Republicans Push To Rename Part Of John Lewis Way In Nashville To 'Honor' Trump

Two Tennessee Democrats blasted the bill that could christen a stretch of the street named for the late civil rights icon "President Donald Trump Boulevard."

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: US