Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg testifies it’s a ‘coincidence’ that Trump is paying him $2 million severance – DAVID RAUDALES

DAVID RAUDALES

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DAVID RAUDALES UK

Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg testifies it’s a ‘coincidence’ that Trump is paying him $2 million severance

Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg, a key fraud witness, resumed his trial testimony in NY on Thursday.
His $2 million severance matches a fine he paid after keeping Trump safe in a 2022 tax-fraud trial.
An attorney for AG Letitia James tried to suggest Thursday that his loyalty to Trump was paid for.

The New York attorney general’s office came down hard Thursday on a key witness during testimony at the Trump civil fraud trial in Manhattan, impeaching his credibility by suggesting his loyalty has been purchased by Donald Trump.

The witness, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, is almost half-way through collecting the installments of a two-year, $2 million severance package, testimony has already shown.

On Thursday, his second day on the stand, Weisselberg said it was just a “coincidence” that this $2 million golden parachute matches, almost to the dollar, the $2 million he’d had to pay in tax-fraud fines and interest last year. after a New York trial in which a prosecutor accused him of shading the truth on Trump’s behalf.

In late-morning questioning, a lawyer for Letitia James, the state attorney general, implied that Trump was reimbursing Weisselberg for having fallen on his sword to protect his longtime boss the previous year.

“Is it just a coincidence that under this severance agreement, that you are being paid $2 million, which is almost the exact same amount” of last year’s tax-fraud fine, asked the lawyer, Louis M. Solomon, who heads James’ real-estate finance enforcement section.

“Coincidence,” Weisselberg murmured in response.

“Pure coincidence?” Solomon pushed.

“Coincidental,” the ex-CFO doubled-down.

The attorney had few further questions, and Weisselberg, who testified Tuesday and Thursday under AG subpoena, left the courthouse, though he can be recalled as a witness at a future date.

On both days he frequently responded that he did not recall the information requested. He also repeatedly minimized  his role in, and the importance of, what the AG has called fraudulent misrepresentations of Trump’s net worth in a decade’s worth of financial statements. 

On Tuesday, for example, Weisselberg brushed off how five years of statements erroneously  tripled the size of Trump’s penthouse in Trump Tower, calling the triplex condominium  a “minor” and “de minimus” property in the grander scheme of his former boss’ net worth.

It’s the second week of testimony in the trial. Weisselberg, too, is on trial, along with the other defendants named in James’ $250 million civil lawsuit alleging widespread fraud in a decade of Trump’s net-worth statements, which were issued to lenders, insurers and tax officials.

The other defendants include Trump himself, his company, his tw0 eldest sons, and another longtime Trump Org executive, Jeffrey McConney. The attorney general is seeking to bar Trump and Trump Organization from ever running a business in New York again. 

Last month, the judge in the non-jury trial, state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, issued a pre-trial finding that Trump committed fraud for years through these net-worth statements. 

The judge also imposed what experts call the “corporate death penalty,” ordering that all of the former president’s licenses to do business in New York be revoked, and that a receiver be appointed “to manage the dissolution” of — meaning sell — the canceled companies.

This is a developing story; please check back for developments.

Read the original article on Business Insider