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Trump’s firm benefited from tax fraud, prosecutor says at finish of trial By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a rally to help Republican candidates forward of midterm elections, in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. November 7, 2022. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse/

By Luc Cohen and Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Trump Group reaped substantial advantages from a 15-year tax fraud scheme, a prosecutor stated close to the top of the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s actual property firm, countering protection claims {that a} rogue government acted for himself.

Joshua Steinglass, from the Manhattan district legal professional’s workplace, informed jurors in his closing argument that the scheme helped Trump’s firm preserve salaries down, shift tax deductions to Trump entities similar to his Mar-a-Lago membership, cut back payroll taxes, and preserve executives comfortable and constant.

“The complete protection technique right here is to advertise the notion that Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg,” Steinglass informed the jury in a New York state courtroom in Manhattan. “Has a pleasant ring to it, however it’s simply not grounded in actuality,” he stated, referring to Allen Weisselberg, the corporate’s longtime chief monetary officer, who pleaded responsible and testified for the prosecution.

The Trump Group has pleaded not responsible to paying private bills for some executives with out reporting the earnings, and compensating them as in the event that they have been impartial contractors. Trump was not personally charged.

Steinglass informed jurors that Trump executives aside from Weisselberg have been concerned, saying the corporate’s chief working officer and a former basic counsel obtained Christmas bonuses as in the event that they have been impartial contractors.

If convicted on all 9 counts it faces, Trump’s firm faces as much as $1.6 million in fines.

Steinglass is anticipated to complete his closing argument on Friday, with the jury starting deliberations on Monday.

‘SMORGASBORD OF BENEFITS’

Protection legal professionals had informed jurors on Thursday that Weisselberg’s intent was to learn himself and never the corporate.

Susan Necheles, one of many legal professionals, cited Weisselberg’s testimony that he acted out of greed and was embarrassed about betraying the belief of the Trump household, for whom it had labored for practically 5 a long time.

However Steinglass highlighted Weisselberg’s testimony that Trump’s firm saved lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} by protecting his $7,000 month-to-month hire on a luxurious Manhattan residence and different bills, as a substitute of giving him a elevate.

He additionally stated the scheme helped executives slash their private tax payments.

“The smorgasbord of advantages is designed to maintain its prime executives comfortable and constant,” Steinglass stated.

Weisselberg, 75, additionally testified that the corporate paid for a automobile lease for his spouse, ready a bogus wage assertion so she may declare social safety advantages, and paid for his son’s residence.

“The companies are actually paying him much less out of pocket, and as he informed you explicitly, that was a profit to them,” Steinglass stated.

Weisselberg is anticipated to serve 5 months in jail after pleading responsible to tax fraud and different expenses. He’s on paid go away and hopes to get one other $500,000 bonus in January.

Trump, a Republican, has known as the costs politically motivated. Manhattan District Lawyer Alvin Bragg is a Democrat, as is his predecessor Cyrus Vance, who introduced the costs final yr.

The case is separate from New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James’s $250 million civil lawsuit accusing Trump, three of his grownup kids and his firm of overstating asset values and Trump’s web value to get favorable financial institution loans and insurance coverage protection.

Trump additionally faces federal investigations into his removing of presidency paperwork from the White Home after leaving workplace and efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, and a Georgia state probe over makes an attempt to undo his election defeat there.

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