U.S.

Trump Organization fraud charges put pressure on Weisselberg to flip

What if Allen Weisselberg doesn’t flip?

That’s a question prosecutors in Manhattan likely have already asked themselves before filing Thursday’s charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer alleging 15 counts of tax fraud.

“Flipping” defendants means persuading them to switch from the defense to the prosecution team by cooperating against their criminal associates. In exchange, prosecutors promise cooperators some benefit, such as an agreement not to charge them, to charge them with a lesser crime than the full scope of their misconduct, or to recommend a reduction in their sentence.

Flipping defendants is a common strategy in criminal prosecution. That’s because a criminal’s associates are the people best positioned to know details about the facts of his crimes. Even a case based largely on documents, such as a tax case, often requires a narrator to help connect the dots. An insider who cooperates can help put the pieces together in a way that is understandable to a jury.



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