New York judge rules criminal case against Trump Organization and ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg can continue

A New York state judge ruled Friday that criminal fraud and tax evasion charges can proceed against the Trump Organization and its former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

Weisselberg and company a judge asked in February dismiss the 15 charges against them. Judge Juan Merchan dismissed one of several tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization, but allowed all others to stand.

Lawyers for Weisselberg and the company did not immediately comment on Friday’s rulings.

The Trump Organization and Weisselberg accused prosecutors of targeting them “based on political animosity” toward former President Donald Trump. Weisselberg also argued that he was given immunity from certain federal charges when he testified before a federal grand jury investigating former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

The selection of the jury will take place on October 24.

prosecutors he said in a May 23 presentation that Weisselberg’s research was spurred by a November 2, 2020 Bloomberg article about the benefits that Weisselberg allegedly received.

“The article described many of the key facts relevant to the crimes charged,” Manhattan District Attorney Solomon Shinerock wrote in May.

The Trump Organization was indicted in July 2021 of giving executives untaxed perks, which prosecutors called “indirect employee compensation.” Weisselberg, a 74-year-old man who had been with Trump at the company for decades, was accused of receiving $1.7 million in benefits, including an apartment and a car.

Weisselberg and company have entered pleas of not guilty.

Merchan said he will hear arguments in September on a request by Weisselberg’s team to suppress evidence from two Manhattan district attorney investigators who he said “gave a chat” while Weisselberg was in custody. A statement attributed to Weisselberg of the conversation — in which he described the long commute from his Long Island home — was included in court documents. Lawyers for Weisselberg, accused of moving into a New York City corporate apartment without paying taxes on the alleged perk, have argued that he was essentially tricked into divulging information he otherwise wouldn’t have with a lawyer present .

In the motion to dismiss the charges, they claimed the company and Weisselberg were “improperly targeted” because of the policy. They have highlighted the statements of New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who has been critical of Trump, a Republican. Two attorneys from James’ office are assigned to the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation.

Trump sat through a court-ordered deposition in James’ case on Wednesday, invoking the Fifth Amendment, then gave “the same answer” hundreds of times during about four hours of questioning.

Trump’s lawyers have previously said they were concerned that Trump’s statement could be turned over to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Attorneys for James’ office and a judge overseeing his investigation have said his investigators can do that.

Weisselberg’s lawyers also wrote in January that the charges against Weisselberg should be dismissed because he was given immunity from certain federal charges when he testified before a federal grand jury investigating former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Shinerock responded that no one on his team “has ever seen or been informed of the content of Weisselberg’s testimony” against Cohen, but asserted that federal immunity does not apply to state charges brought against Weisselberg.

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Graham Kates

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