NEW YORK (Reuters) – Allen Weisselberg, a longtime senior executive at former U.S. President Donald Trump’s family business, took the stand on Tuesday as the prosecution’s star witness at the Trump Organization’s tax fraud trial in New York state court.
Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty in August to avoiding taxes on $1.76 million in personal income and helping Trump’s real estate company engineer a 15-year tax fraud scheme. His plea was part of a deal with prosecutors to testify at the trial in exchange for a five-month jail sentence.
The company has pleaded not guilty. Its lawyers argue that Weisselberg – who worked for Trump for half a century, and is currently on paid leave – orchestrated the scheme to benefit only himself.
Trump, a Republican, has not personally been charged with a crime, but has called the prosecution politically motivated. Both Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his predecessor who began the investigation, Cyrus Vance, are Democrats.
The case is one of several legal troubles facing the 76-year-old Trump as he is set to announce another bid for the presidency after losing in 2020.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Josie Kao)