A Manhattan judge has set an October 24 trial date for Donald Trump's business and his former CFO.
The trial will extend past Thanksgiving; the Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg face steep fines and mandatory jail.
The company and Weisselberg allegedly conspired to dodge payroll taxes on $1.7 million in income over the course of 15 years.
Donald Trump's business and his longtime chief financial officer will stand trial on October 24 for allegedly scheming to dodge executive payroll taxes on $1.7 million in income over the course of 15 years, a Manhattan judge decided Friday.
The trial date was set during a morning court hearing in New York Supreme Court, the latest since now-former CFO Allen Weisselberg and Trump's multi-billion-dollar real estate and golf resort company were indicted last summer.
Before learning their trial date, Weisselberg and lawyers for the Trump family business first learned a string of bad, though likely expected, news. Justice Juan Merchan declined to dismiss the bulk of the indictment against Weisselberg and the company.
Just one of 15 felony counts was dismissed: a criminal tax fraud charge concerning a 2014 New York state income tax return Weisselberg filed in 2015. It was dismissed against the corporation only, for statute of limitations reasons.
Lawyers for the Trump Organization and Weisselberg had asked in January that the case be dismissed in its entirety, claiming they were targeted by prosecutors because of the district attorney's "animus" toward Trump's political views.
"They have relentlessly investigated former President Donald Trump and his companies and associates because of their dislike of his speech and political views, as well as in an attempt to ensure that he is never again able to run for public office," Trump corporate attorneys Susan Nechelles and Alan Futerfas argued in a court filing in January.
Weisselberg separately argued that as the only Trump executive to be indicted, he was targeted in an attempt to "flip" him against the company and Trump. Weisselberg and other Trump executives have steadfastly declined to cooperate with the DA's office.
In declining to dismiss all but the single state tax fraud charge, Merchan otherwise sided with prosecutors, who had countered there was ample evidence to support the indictment, which has a top charge of second-degree grand larceny.
The grand larceny charge — which alleges Weisselberg illegally pocketed thousands of dollars in federal tax refunds on underreported income — is the only one in the indictment that carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence; every other count would allow a judge to sentence Weisselberg to probation only.
If convicted of the grand larceny charge, Weisselberg, 74, would have to serve a mandatory minimum of one year in jail; the charge allows for the unlikely maximum sentence of 15 years.
The trial will extend past Thanksgiving, the judge said.
Friday's brief hearing was the first court appearance for the new team of Manhattan prosecutors helming the office's three-year investigation into Trump himself.
Leading the team was seasoned prosecutor and defense lawyer Susan Hoffinger, brought in by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg earlier this year to head both the probe and the office's Investigation Division.
She was second-seated by 25-year veteran senior trial counselor Joshua Steinglass, a new addition to the team who more frequently leads high-profile violent crime prosecutions.
Also at the prosecution table was Gary Fishman, who is leading New York Attorney General Letitia James' probe into Trump and the Trump Organization; he is cross-designated as a Manhattan prosecutor.
The prosecution of Weisselberg and the Trump Organization is the only indictment to come out of Manhattan.
Former lead prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who resigned in protest in February over Bragg's refusal to indict Trump on financial crimes, recently said he still believes the former president is guilty of "numerous" felonies.
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