A lawyer for the Trump Organization’s longtime former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg signaled to a judge on Monday that Manhattan prosecutors may not have completed their charges of people and entities associated with the former president’s corporate empire.
“We have strong reason to believe there could be more indictments coming,” lawyer Bryan C. Skarlatos told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan on Monday morning.
Skarlatos made the throwaway remark in reciting what he described as the difficulties preparing for his client’s upcoming trial, which the judge tentatively set for either August or September 2022, shortly before the midterm elections.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (D) charged Weisselberg in July with a 15-year tax fraud conspiracy that allegedly enriched him with $1.76 million in direct compensation. Vance’s office declined to comment on Skarlatos’s prediction.
“We have studied the indictment and it is full of unsupported and flawed factual and legal assertions regarding Allen Weisselberg,” they wrote in a statement. “We look forward to challenging those assertions in court.”
Monday’s hearing largely revolved around scheduling future pre-trial motions.
Weisselberg’s lawyers requested a delay, complaining that they received three million pages of documents from prosecutors early on and another three million-page stack on Monday. Skarlatos said his legal team, though a “Herculean effort,” has the capacity to review 30,000 pages per day.
But Skarlatos claimed that task was made more difficult by the moving target, including the possibility of future charges.
Weisselberg, the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp. were charged in a 14-count indictment of various tax offenses, and the ex-executive’s attorney noted that he was the only human person in the bunch to date.
“Allen Weisselberg is separate from the Trump Organization,” Skarlatos said, emphasizing that his client is the only defendant whose liberty is at stake and arguing that rushing the case risks turning him into “collateral damage” in a broader prosecution of the corporation.
Prosecutors described Weisselberg’s arguments as overblown.
“There’s nothing unusually complex about this case: It’s a case about executives hiding their compensation in order to avoid tax consequences,” Assistant District Attorney Solomon Shinerock said.
“I would note that Allen Weisselberg is no stranger to these documents,” the prosecutor continued. “The overwhelming majority of these records are Trump Organization records.”
Though he granted a 120-day adjournment, Justice Merchan splashed cold water on Weisselberg’s claims of unfairness in noting the defendant’s familiarity with many of the records.
“I am also mindful that many of the documents here came from the defendant himself,” Merchan said.
The defense must file pre-trial motions by Jan. 20, 2022, and a response will be due in May.
Judge Merchan expects to rule on the pre-trial motions on July 12, 2022, after which trial has been tentatively scheduled from the late August or beginning of September time frame.
By then, the November 2022 midterm elections will be looming within a matter of months.
(Photo by Law&Crime’s Adam Klasfeld)
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