The Trump Organization’s longtime finance chief Allen Weisselberg choked up on the witness stand Thursday, saying he was ashamed he’d betrayed the Trump family’s trust by scheming to dodge taxes on $1.7 million in perks.
In his Manhattan Supreme Court testimony, Weisselberg, 75, denied he conspired with Donald Trump or his family to hide more than a decade worth of company-paid benefits from the CFO’s taxable income — insisting he plotted with a subordinate.
“It was my own personal greed that led to this case,” Weisselberg said during questioning from Trump Org lawyers.
The Trump Org is on trial for allegedly helping Weisselberg and other senior execs skirt income taxes for 15 years by fudging reports to the government about their compensation.
Weisselberg copped to accepting $1.7 million in perks “off the books” — including free rent on an Upper West Side apartment, luxury cars and tuition payments for his grandchildren.
Defense attorneys have argued the Trump Org wasn’t aware its financial chief had been cheating on his personal tax returns — and that the blame lies squarely on him.
Asked if he was embarrassed by what he did, Weisselberg responded: “More than you can imagine.”
He started to tear up as defense lawyer Alan Futerfas grilled him about his ties to the Trump family — and if he had betrayed their trust.
“It was petty thievery,” Weisselberg said of the conniving.
The longstanding Trump confidant, who pleaded guilty to 15 tax evasion felonies in August, has been promised a five-month prison stint in exchange for his testimony as the prosecution’s star witness.
On the stand, Weisselberg recalled helping Trump through the company’s dark times, and watching Trump’s three eldest children — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — grow up. He said he’d been “among the most trusted people they knew.”
Though he went on a leave of absence last month after his guilty plea, Weisselberg is still being paid his $640,000 salary by the Trump Org.
Throughout the trial, Trump Org lawyers have tried to portray the financial exec as a loyal lieutenant who went rogue and concocted the tax fraud scheme on his own.
Weisselberg testified he conspired with the company’s senior vice president and controller, Jeffrey McConney, to deduct perks from his salary — which reduced his tax liability and saved money for the Trump Org. He also said Trump, until he was elected president in 2016. signed off on Weisselberg’s salary reductions and personally paid the private school tuition for his grandkids.
Weisselberg hasn’t given any indication Trump was aware of the tax dodge scam.
He also testified the company for decades managed to duck taxes by drawing some bonus checks for executives from subsidiary entities, which allowed for them to be deducted as expenses.
Weisselberg recounted Trump “always wanted to sign the bonus checks” that were stuffed into Christmas cards and handed out at the company’s Trump Tower offices.
The practice was abandoned once a tax lawyer audited the company’s pay practices after Trump became president in 2017.
“We were going through an entire cleanup process at the company. With Mr. Trump now president, we wanted to make sure everything was done properly,” Weisselberg said.
With Post wires