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Allen Weisselberg could be charged for tax fraud — and take Trump down with him: former prosecutor

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Salon
Salon
 2021-06-16
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US President-elect Donald Trump along with his son Donald, Jr., arrive for a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, as Allen Weisselberg (C), chief financial officer of The Trump, looks on January 11, 2017. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

On CNN Tuesday, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig walked through the implications of the new report showing Manhattan prosecutors are close to finishing their investigation of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg — and may be prepared to bring charges against him.

"We're on the brink of two make-or-break decisions," said Honig. "First, prosecutors will need to sit down, assess all their evidence and decide, do we have enough evidence to indict Allen Weisselberg? If so, then the big decision is, does he flip? Whether he flips will mean everything for this investigation. He's the exact right person to target to try to flip. He's in the inner circle, the only person not named Trump who is in the inner circle of the Trump Org. If they flip him, he can open up a universe of evidence."

"What is this new reporting from The New York Times, what does it tell you about the types of charges Weisselberg could be facing, especially when you're getting into this issue of prison time?" asked anchor Erin Burnett.

"Prosecutors seem to be looking to make tax charges against Allen Weisselberg," said Honig. "The charge is that he was paid by the Trump Organization not with a paycheck, but in the Trump Organization paying for tuition, for cars, for apartments. That can be a lot of income. Normally that kind of income is taxable. If they were doing this to try to get around the taxes, to try to beat having to pay taxes, that could be a tax fraud charge."

"A lot is going to depend on the amount here," Honig added. "Tax fraud charges can be as minor as a misdemeanor under New York state law, meaning nobody is going to flip on a misdemeanor, you don't go to jail. Or they could be up to seven years per year of tax fraud. He could be looking at very little time or very serious time. That's going to be a huge factor when deciding whether to flip."

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