Allen H. Weisselberg's possible fail!


An offshoot of Trump Trump Jail: We've never exactly understood the criminal trial now underway in Manhattan.

In this criminal trial, the Trump Organization is charged with crimes. But Donald J. Trump isn't charged those crimes, and neither is anyone else!

We've never exactly understood the concept of a criminal trail aimed at an organization but not at any of its principals. Nor have we seen any cable pundits breaking their backs as they try to explain how a criminal trial of that type actually works. 

You can't send an organization to jail; presumably, the most you can do is fine it. That said, our blue tribe has been deeply involved in the various legal pursuits of Donald J. Trump, and very few questions have been asked about this underexplained criminal trial.

All in all, given the way our tribe loves to talk about Trump Trump Jail, this trial has been judged close enough!

That said, ugh! In a news report in today's New York Times, it sounds to us like the criminal case against the Trump Org may not be super-strong. The report begins like this:

BROMWICH ET AL (11/18/22): The criminal trial of Donald J. Trump’s family business took an emotional turn Thursday as one of the former president’s most loyal executives laid bare the machinery of a sprawling tax fraud, scoring points for both prosecution and defense during hours of illuminating testimony.

The executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, several times bolstered Manhattan prosecutors’ contention that the scheme benefited not just himself, but the Trump Organization. He testified that the off-the-books luxuries he and other executives received saved the company money in taxes.

Yet Mr. Weisselberg, 75, who started working for the Trumps decades ago, rose to become chief financial officer and is now the prosecution’s star witness, also distanced Mr. Trump and his family from the wrongdoing. He testified that they did not team up with him, nor authorize him to commit crimes. He agreed more than a dozen times that he had acted only for himself. 

Oof! If we might borrow from Tears of Rage:

But oh, what kind of "prosecution's star witness" is this, who goes from bad to worse?

Weisselberg has already pleaded guilty to 17 felonies for his role in the conduct under review. But all through today's report, Bromwich et al. have Weisselberg saying that Donald J. Trump wasn't part of the scheme for which the Trump Org is now on trial. 

According to Bromwich et al., Weisselberg could face as much as 15 years in prison, instead of as little as 100 days, "if the judge overseeing the case concludes that [he] lied on the stand." That said:

Throughout today's report, it sounds like Weisselberg is saying that he engaged in the conduct at question to benefit himself—and that Trump himself wasn't involved.

We've never quite understood the basic structure of this case. Plainly, Weisselberg was cheating on taxes, but he seems to be saying that others were not involved. 

No one—not even Ivanka! That's how bad this whole thing sounds!


  1. "That's how bad this whole thing sounds!"

    Tsk. Horrors, dear Bob, horrors. Please accept our condolences...

  2. "You can't send an organization to jail; presumably, the most you can do is fine it. "

    In addition to fines, the court can also place the organization on probation (with monitoring) or order it to pay restitution or forfeit money.

    Why speculate about this? Why not do some research on the internet? It is up to the prosecutor whether to charge individuals or the organization. They may have decided that everyone was engaging in the same criminal behavior, making it hard to single out an individual.

    Stockholders or owners pay the fines. If they are hefty enough, the company may be insolvent and have to dissolve.

    1. Somerby: why isn't Trump being charged directly instead of his company?

      few seconds later

      Somerby: he he, star witness says Trump was not directly involved

      oof when Somerby faceplants, he goes hardcore

      btw earth to Somerby, trials involve depositions, prosecution already knew what that witness was going to testify to

  3. If you read Mary Trump's book, written long before this case was brought, the mechanics of the tax evasion are described there, as part of Fred Trump's approach to business. Just because Weisselberg claims he did all the dirtywork, doesn't mean the rest of the Trumps are going to evade responsibility. There will be other evidence presented. I do not believe there would be a prosecution without a judgment by the attorney general that the case was strong.

    Meanwhile, Somerby seems suspiciously eager to declare that the prosecution has nothing and that Trump will skate. And when Somerby bemoans the lack of explanation of things that he could easily look up for himself, I suspect that he doesn't really want to know. He simply wants to sow confusion and undermine reports about the case.

    Why does Somerby think Trump is so upset about this trial, if Weisselberg is the only guilty person involved?

  4. Somerby is trying to second-guess whether Weisselberg's testimony is helpful or harmful without knowing what the case is about. He says the whole thing sounds bad, but what does he mean by that? Bad for whom? He seems to be working hard to suggest that the case is not strong and that Trump didn't do anything -- it was all Weisselberg's fault. I doubt that is what any of the court-watchers are saying about it.

    "“This case is about greed and cheating,” Susan Hoffinger, the prosecutor leading the state’s case, said in her opening statement. She described the benefits for top executives, and walked the jurors through the charges, which include scheming to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records."

    At this point there is a monitor appointed to oversee the corporation's activities, which Trump is appealing, and the two witnesses, Weisselberg and McConney are both trying to throw Weisselberg under the bus. I doubt that will work because they wouldn't have taken this to trial without evidence of participation in what the prosecutor has called a conspiracy -- that means other were involved.

  5. Bob has never gone near, to site one example, Trump's
    phone calls to try to tamper with the election in Georgia,
    there really isn't a good excuse for what he, and perhaps
    Lindsey Graham, were trying to do. Liz Cheney was again
    refuting Bob's nutball "But if Trump believed it was O.K."
    Defense, absurd on the face of it. Or Bob argues that poor
    Trump just has mental issues and the liberals are
    cruel people who just like sending Men to jail.
    Bob tried to defend Trump's theft of documents but
    this was so stupid he gave up on it pretty early.
    Has Bob really been with Trump since he was
    demanding the Central Park five be put to death?
    Well, he has a lot of Southern Condescension, that's
    for sure.

  6. From Political Wire:

    "“The criminal tax fraud case against a pair of Trump Organization companies playing out in a Manhattan courtroom this month went all the way to trial because of one man: Donald Trump,” Bloomberg reports.

    “Companies under criminal investigation often cut deals to lessen or avoid prosecution in exchange for paying a penalty and changing their conduct. But because the two Trump business units would have had to say their employees knowingly committed tax fraud, the boss wouldn’t let them strike a plea deal with prosecutors.”

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Did they implicate Trump?

      We couldn’t get a straight story from the press if our lives depended upon it.

    3. Did you skip this part?

      "Despite this contradiction over who opened the door, the basic facts of the attack are not disputed in the documents: 42-year-old David DePape is accused of breaking into the Pelosi home and attacking 82-year-old Paul Pelosi with a hammer."

      And yes, the case against Trump's two organizations has implicated Trump, not just Weisselberg. See below @9:39. Trump and his family signed the checks for the perks, which implicates them in the tax evasion scheme. But the trial has just started. You can expect more evidence to be presented.

  7. Somerby thinks readers will change their minds and be whoever he wants you to be. As long as he satisfies the part of them that align with the conjectures and hypotheses of ALL bloggers many of whom may derive a more delicate satisfaction from the free confession of his ignorance, and from his prudence in avoiding that error, into which so many have fallen, of imposing their conjectures and hypotheses on the world for the most certain principles beyond experience.

    1. cutting and pasting without attribution is plagiarism

      committing plagiarism is so serious that it will get you kicked out of any graduate program in the country

  8. Here's the part Somerby doesn't tell you about:

    "Donald Trump and two of his adult children allegedly participated in a tax fraud scheme, former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg testified on Thursday.

    CBS News reported, “Weisselberg said Donald Trump, or at times Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr., signed checks to pay up to $100,000 for private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren. Weisselberg said he then instructed the company’s controller to deduct the $100,000 from his salary, allowing him to report a smaller income. Copies of some of the checks signed by the Trumps have been shown in court.”

    Weisselberg and two Trump organizations are accused of more than a dozen counts of fraud, grand larceny and tax evasion."

  9. And Somerby once again presents the conservative line about the trial, echoing Trump's words on Truth Social about the case "falling apart" due to Weisselberg's testimony:

    ""The D.A. case against two small Trump entities has fallen apart. Even the Media is saying so," Trump asserted without providing any evidence. "

    Uncanny how Somerby manages to channel conservative talking points this way.

  10. ""Eric and Donald Trump Jr. in 2017 learned Weisselberg, 75, and two other top execs had been getting cushy perks that they didn’t report on their taxes — yet nobody was penalized, Weisselberg testified at the Manhattan Supreme Court tax fraud trial against the Trump Org," reported Priscilla DeGregory and Khristina Narizhnaya. "The sons learned of the tax cheating during a 'cleanup process' the company underwent with tax auditors when Trump took office as president, Weisselberg said."

    "When prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked the longtime chief financial officer if the Trump Org demoted or punished him in light of the discovery, he said no," said the report. "'Were you in fact given a raise … that totaled approximately $200,000?' Hoffinger asked. 'Correct,' Weisselberg replied on his final day of testimony."

    Weisselberg, long considered to be one of the most loyal members of the Trump's inner circle and the one person who had access to the Trump Organization's entire financial operations, took a plea deal earlier this year, admitting to accepting $1.7 million in non-monetary benefits from the company as a way of evading taxes."