Trump’s Business, Under Threat, Faces a Tough Test in Court

Mr. Bragg’s tax case grew out of a broader investigation into the previous president and whether or not he fraudulently inflated the worth of his properties to acquire favorable offers from lenders and insurers. Looking for an insider to testify in opposition to the previous president, the district lawyer’s workplace leaned on Mr. Weisselberg, a loyal lieutenant who acquired his begin with Mr. Trump’s father a half-century in the past and served as the corporate’s monetary gatekeeper for many years. When he resisted their strain marketing campaign, the workplace indicted Mr. Weisselberg and the 2 companies for the particular perks.

On the trial, which is anticipated to final greater than a month, legal professionals for the Trump companies will say that Mr. Weisselberg went behind the Trump household’s again to keep away from paying taxes on the perks, and was not conspiring with the corporate.

“Weisselberg’s acts have been executed to profit himself and never executed to profit the corporate and we count on to indicate that at trial and be acquitted,” mentioned one of many firm’s legal professionals, Susan R. Necheles. (Whereas the prosecutors might argue that the scheme saved cash for the corporate, which didn’t pay payroll taxes on the perks, the protection is anticipated to argue that actually, the corporate misplaced cash on account of the association.)

The legal professionals may also argue that Mr. Weisselberg agreed to testify underneath duress, noting that he might have confronted years in jail. The plea deal requires him to serve 5 months in jail, however with good habits, he’s more likely to spend solely 100 days there.

But if he lied on the witness stand, the decide overseeing the case might impose as much as a 15-year jail sentence, based on his lawyer, Nicholas A. Gravante Jr., a companion at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, who mentioned his shopper was assembly with each prosecutors and the corporate’s legal professionals “to guarantee that his testimony goes easily.”

Mr. Weisselberg, who’s on paid go away from the corporate, has nonetheless refused to cooperate with the broader investigation into the previous president.

Mr. Trump, who was not accused of taking part in the advantages scheme, has chalked up the case to a “witch hunt” in opposition to him, echoing the chorus he makes use of to leverage authorized woes right into a rallying cry for his political base.

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