Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has asked a judge to dismiss the tax fraud indictment against him, saying it violates the immunity he was given in the federal investigation into Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney to former President Donald Trump, and that certain charges fall outside of the statute of limitations.
Weisselberg’s attorneys also argued in the 162-page brief that the Manhattan district attorney and New York attorney general have targeted Trump, Weisselberg and the Trump Organization. In the filing, his attorneys argue that New York authorities were politically motivated in pursuing the indictment last summer charging them with a 15-year tax fraud scheme. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty.
The motion to dismiss comes as the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office continues to investigate the Trump Organization and its executives about the accuracy of financial statements provided to lenders, insurers and others. Last week, a New York judge ruled that Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and daughter Ivanka Trump need to testify in the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances. Trumps attorneys have vowed to appeal.
In arguing for the dismissal, Weisselberg’s lawyers write, “Mr. Weisselberg’s federal grand jury testimony forged the first link in the chain of evidence that culminated in this Indictment.” The lawyers argued that Cohen had embarked on a campaign driven by “vengeance” against Weisselberg and cooperated extensively with the district attorney’s office, suggesting the internal nickname for the investigation is “fixer,” a nod to Cohen’s self-proclaimed title.
CNN previously reported that federal prosecutors suspected Weisselberg was not entirely truthful during his grand jury testimony and considered charging him with perjury. Weisselberg was granted partial immunity for his testimony about hush money paid to Stormy Daniels. Cohen pleaded guilty to nine federal crimes, including campaign finance charges.
Weisselberg’s lawyers also argued that New York state prosecutors can’t bring charges against him for allegedly failing to pay federal taxes. Weisselberg was charged with not paying taxes on $1.7 million in income and benefits.
His attorneys argued that some charges, including one alleging Weisselberg failed to pay New York City taxes while living at an apartment in Manhattan, fall outside the statute of limitations by at least three years.
Weisselberg’s attorneys also asked the judge to suppress statements Weisselberg had made while he was in custody for eight hours the morning he surrendered to face the charges. While in custody, Weisselberg made statements about living in Manhattan and the high cost of schooling – issues at the heart of the indictment. His attorneys say those statements were compelled in violation of his constitutional rights.
The district attorney’s office will file its response to the motion to dismiss in the coming weeks. The judge overseeing the case set a tentative trial for late summer.