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Allegations decline as Trump’s impeachment trial progresses faster than expected

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According to the judge presiding over the case, Juan Merchan, plaintiffs must prove that Mr. Weisselberg acted for interests other than his own — and that he sought to benefit the company, whether he was successful or not. Depending on how Judge Merchan explains this concept to the jury and how carefully the jurors analyze his instructions, one or more of them may conclude that Mr. Weisselberg only acted in his favor, resulting in the jury being acquitted or suspended.

Defense attorneys sought to assert that Mazars USA bore responsibility for failing to alert the Trump Organization to the illegality of the scheme. They appear to believe that some jurors may be convinced that the Trump Organization is not responsible, and that responsibility rests solely with Mr. Weisselberg, Mr. McCone, the observer — who enjoys immunity from prosecution after testifying before the grand jury — and Mr. Bender.

On Monday, they questioned Mr. Bandar about his relationship with the Trump Organization, and Mr. Trump and the staff, including Mr. Weisselberg and the company’s controller, Mr. McConi. Mr. Bender testified to a relatively close relationship with the company, which was by far his largest client, saying he attended Mr. Trump’s wedding and that of Mr. Weisselberg’s son.

They were close enough that Mr. Bender was relieved to calm down by exchanging heated emails featuring Mr. Weisselberg. It was triggered when Mr. Bender sent a blank email with the subject line “ALLEN CAUSING ME GRIEF”.

When Mr. Weisselberg replied, saying that his questions about the company’s bills were “nothing personal, just business,” Mr. Bender replied in all caps: “I know it’s not personal, but I’d like your best investment.”

The defense asked Mr. Bender to testify about a document that showed him calculating two different scenarios that would determine how much money Mr. Weisselberg earned and how much taxes he paid. One considered part of the plan where the executives reported a portion of their compensation as if they were independent contractors; In this scenario, Mr. Weisselberg took more money and paid less taxes. The document appears to indicate that Mr. Bandar was aware of this part of the scheme.

On Friday, Mr. Weisselberg testified that Mr. Bender never told him he had committed a crime by filing his tax returns without declaring the privileges he enjoyed. He said that if he had been told some practices were illegal, he would not have participated in them.

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