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Helmsley Trial to Begin: Leona Helmsley, who heads a...

June 26, 1989

Helmsley Trial to Begin: Leona Helmsley, who heads a $5-billion real estate and hotel empire with her husband Harry, is scheduled to go on trial for tax evasion today. The Helmsleys are believed to be one of the wealthiest couples in the world with holdings that include the Empire State Building and the Helmsley Palace Hotel. Leona Helmsley was indicted for evading $4 million in income taxes by claiming personal luxuries and gifts as tax-deductible business expenses. She is also charged with extorting kickbacks from suppliers and contractors. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Jury selection is expected to take a week; opening arguments are scheduled for July 5.

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