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Trump Organization is set for trial, and its CFO could be the person involved

The trial stems from the long-running criminal investigation into former President Trump and his companies’ businesses practices.

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A New York judge on Friday mandated that Donald Trump’s firm and its longtime finance head face trial in the fall on tax fraud charges resulting from a protracted criminal probe into Trump’s business operations, capping an unusual week in Trump’s post-presidency.

Jury selection in the case, which concerns charges that the Trump Organization handed CFO Allen Weisselberg more than $1.7 million in off-the-books remuneration, including rent, car payments, and school tuition, was set for October 24 by Manhattan Judge Juan Manuel Merchan.

Merchan rejected petitions to dismiss the case made by Weisselberg’s attorneys and the Trump Organization, but he did dismiss one charge of criminal tax fraud brought against the business on the grounds of statute of limitations. Weisselberg’s attorneys claimed that the district attorney’s office in Manhattan was punishing him because he wouldn’t turn against the former president.

At a hearing on Friday, Merchan refuted that claim, asserting that the grand jury’s evidence “was legally sufficient to establish the accusations in the indictment” and that the proceedings were correctly conducted with “integrity unimpaired.”

The trial of Weisselberg and the Trump Organization will take place in November, when Trump’s Republican Party may take control of one or both chambers of Congress, if the trial timetable holds. Trump has been setting the basis for a prospective presidential run in 2024 at the same time.

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One of several legal issues unfolding in real time in Trump’s vicinity is the criminal trial. On Monday, Florida’s Mar-a-Lago home was searched by FBI investigators as part of a separate investigation, and on Thursday, he and the US Department of Justice demanded that the search warrant’s records be made available to the public.

As New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded a parallel civil investigation into claims that Trump’s corporation misled lenders and tax officials about asset values, Trump took the stand for a deposition on Wednesday. More than 400 times, Trump cited his right to be free from self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment.

Although the criminal investigation has not yet resulted in charges against Trump, prosecutors have highlighted that he signed some of the cheques at the center of the case. Trump has called the New York probes a “political witch hunt” and claimed that his company’s activities were just ordinary business procedure and not criminal in any manner.

The Trump Organization and Weisselberg have entered a not-guilty plea.

Weisselberg is the only Trump executive to have been charged in the criminal probe that has been ongoing for years and is currently being led by Alvin Bragg, the successor to former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. The ability to testify before a grand jury in the matter has been granted immunity to a number of other Trump executives.

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This article first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.