Writing business

Prosecution suspends case as Trump Organization tax evasion trial begins | donald trump

Prosecutors in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax evasion trial closed their case ahead of schedule on Monday, basing their hopes of convicting Donald Trump’s company largely on the word of two top executives who struck deals before to testify that they were conspiring to avoid taxes on benefits paid by the company.

Allen Weisselberg, the company’s longtime chief financial officer, and Jeffrey McConney, senior vice president and comptroller, testified for the bulk of the prosecution’s eight-day case, bringing the drama of their own wrongdoings admitted to a heavy trial of numbers, spreadsheets, tax returns and payslips.

Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August to dodging taxes on an additional $1.7 million, had to testify as a prosecution witness under a plea deal in return for a promised five-year sentence. months in jail. McConney was granted immunity to testify.

Lawyers for the Trump Organization opened their defense by calling the accountant who handled tax filings and other financial matters for Trump, the Trump Organization and hundreds of Trump entities since the 1980s. .

Donald Bender, a partner at Mazars USA LLP, said McConney called him “numerous times” a week about various tax issues and received emails from Weisselberg so often that he even took the time to answer during his holidays in the mountains or in Paris. .

Bender said he interacted much less frequently with Trump, his biggest client, when he married in 2005, but otherwise spoke to him maybe a few times a year.

Once Trump became president in 2017, Bender said he would visit him twice a year at the White House so he could sign his extensions and tax returns, but those trips came to an end when the Covid pandemic -19 started.

Trump blamed Bender and Mazars for the company’s troubles, writing on his Truth Social platform last week: “The highly paid accounting firm should have picked these things up regularly – we relied on them.” THIS IS REALLY UNFAIR!”

Prosecutors had considered calling the accountant, even grooming him for six hours during a Zoom conference on Saturday, but decided to leave him for the defense. Bender’s testimony will continue on Tuesday.

Prosecutors called only three other witnesses: the Trump Organization’s accounts payable supervisor, a forensic accountant with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and a state tax auditor who investigated Weisselberg’s taxes. The hearer was in the witness box on Monday.

Weisselberg, now a senior adviser to the firm, said last week that he conspired with McConney, his subordinate, to hide more than a decade of extras from his taxable income, but that neither Trump nor the family would were involved.

McConney testified that Weisselberg and another executive, Michael Calamari Sr, relied on him over the years to falsify payroll records to hide extras such as Manhattan apartments and Mercedes-Benz cars from their taxable income. , in part by reducing their salaries by the cost of these. benefits and issuance of falsified W-2 forms.

Manhattan prosecutors allege the Trump Organization helped top executives avoid paying taxes on company-paid benefits and is responsible for Weisselberg’s wrongdoings because he was a “high-level agent.” management” acting on its behalf.

The tax evasion case is the only lawsuit to stem from the Manhattan prosecutor’s three-year investigation into Trump and his business practices. If found guilty, the company could be fined more than $1 million and have difficulty closing deals.

James filed a lawsuit in September accusing Trump and his company of boosting his net worth by billions of dollars and misleading banks and others about the value of assets such as golf courses, hotels and his estate of Mar-a-Lago.

Trump’s financial statements are not part of the criminal case.