Ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg said he's still on the Trump payroll.
Weisselberg testified in court that Eric Trump will decide if he gets his annual $500,000 bonus.
He is the prosecutors' key witness in the criminal tax-fraud trial of Donald Trump's company.
The Trump Organization's former top money man told a Manhattan jury that Eric Trump will decide if he gets this year's $500,000 bonus — but that decision will only come after his testimony in the company's ongoing criminal tax-fraud trial.
Allen Weisselberg — the Trump Organization's ex-CFO and the prosecution's key witness in the high-profile New York Supreme Court trial — began testifying Tuesday, revealing that he's still earning $640,000 this year as a "special advisor" to Trump's real-estate and golf-resort empire.
He's been on paid leave — meaning collecting that salary for doing nothing — since October, he told the trial's mostly middle-class jurors.
Asked by a prosecutor if he still expects to receive his annual $500,000 bonus this year, which is paid on top of his salary, Weisselberg replied, "I don't know yet."
Sitting at the witness stand in a gray suit, white shirt, and baby blue tie, the bespectacled ex-CFO smiled.
"Hopefully," he added, saying he should learn in early January, maybe two weeks after the trial has been estimated to conclude.
"Who decides if you get that bonus?" Susan Hoffinger, one of the two lead prosecutors, then asked him.
Weisselberg answered "Eric Trump," who he testified has been running the company as its trustee and vice president since his father, Donald Trump, left for Washington, DC, in 2017.
"A few weeks after your testimony?" Hoffinger asked of the looming decision on that half-million-dollar bonus. "Yes," Weisselberg answered.
Prosecutors in the case argue that the Trump Organization must be held accountable for its top executives' 15-year scheme to cheat on their income taxes. The company could be fined up to $1.6 million if convicted of conspiracy and tax fraud charges.
Weisselberg is testifying as part of a plea deal struck with prosecutors in August when he pleaded guilty to his role in the tax-dodge scheme.
Under the deal, Weisselberg admitted to masterminding the scheme and to pocketing $1.7 million in tax-free perks over 15 years, including Mercedes-Benz luxury cars for him and his wife, free use of a Trump-branded apartment on Manhattan's Hudson River, and tuition for his grandkids' private schools.
The most important witness for the prosecution, he has agreed to testify truthfully about his role in the scheme in return for a promise of five months in jail; he must also pay back $2 million in city and state taxes, interest, and penalties.
If prosecutors feel he is not testifying truthfully, they can revoke that promise and ask the trial judge, state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, to sentence him instead to as much as 15 years in state prison.
But Weisselberg also has an incentive to help his boss. Introducing himself to jurors on Tuesday, the Brooklyn native said that he has worked for the Trump family since 1973, when he began working as an accountant for Donald Trump's father, Fred Trump, the company's founder.
In 1986, he began working exclusively for Donald Trump at the then-new headquarters on the 25th and 26th floors of Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.
Back before Donald Trump became president in 2017, the two men, similar in age — Trump is 76, Weisselberg is 75 — spoke often together as they built the company side-by-side.
"We'd have sports conversations, something like that," he said, adding that Trump "had an open door policy."
Before 2017, "I'd probably see him on a daily basis," at Trump Tower, he said, where they'd "football" and "business transactions."
"It ran the gamut," he told jurors.
The prosecution's other key witness, controller Jeffrey McConney, also remains on the Trump payroll, making $450,000 a year, he testified. Both Weisselberg and McConney are represented by Trump-paid attorneys, and prepared for their testimony by meeting with Trump Organization lawyers.
The trial resumes on Thursday with Weisselberg continuing on direct testimony.
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