GUILTY: Trump Organization Convicted On All Charges In 15 Year Tax Fraud Scheme

15

Donald Trump’s company was convicted of tax fraud on Tuesday in a case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney, a significant repudiation of financial practices at the former president’s business.

The guilty verdict came on the second day of deliberations following a trial in which the Trump Organization was accused of being complicit in a scheme by top executives to avoid paying personal income taxes on job perks such as rent-free apartments and luxury cars.

The conviction is a validation for New York prosecutors, who have spent three years investigating the former president and his businesses, though the penalties aren’t expected to be severe enough to jeopardize the future of Trump’s company.

As punishment, the Trump Organization could be fined up to $1.6 million — a relatively small amount for a company of its size, though the conviction might make some of its future deals more complicated.

Trump, who recently announced he was running for president again, has said the case against his company was part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” waged against him by vindictive Democrats.

Trump himself was not on trial but prosecutors alleged he “knew exactly what was going on” with the scheme, though he and the company’s lawyers have denied that.

The case against the company was built largely around testimony from the Trump Organization’s former finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, who previously pleaded guilty to charges that he manipulated the company’s books and his own compensation package to illegally reduce his taxes.

Weisselberg testified in exchange for a promised five-month jail sentence.

To convict the Trump Organization, prosecutors had to convince jurors that Weisselberg or his subordinate, Senior Vice President and Controller Jeffrey McConney, were “high managerial” agents acting on the company’s behalf and that the company also benefited from his scheme.

Trump Organization lawyers repeated the mantra “Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg” throughout the monthlong trial. They contended the executive had gone rogue and betrayed the company’s trust. No one in the Trump family or the company was to blame, they argued.

Though he testified as a prosecution witness, Weisselberg also attempted to take responsibility on the witness stand, saying nobody in the Trump family knew what he was doing.

“It was my own personal greed that led to this,” an emotional Weisselberg testified.

Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty to dodging taxes on $1.7 million in fringe benefits, testified that he and McConney conspired to hide that extra compensation from his income by deducting their cost from his pre-tax salary and issuing falsified W-2 forms.

During his closing argument, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass attempted to refute the claim that Trump knew nothing about the scheme. He showed jurors a lease Trump signed for Weisselberg’s company-paid apartment and a memo Trump initialed authorizing a pay cut for another executive who got perks.

“Mr. Trump is explicitly sanctioning tax fraud,” Steinglass argued.

The verdict doesn’t end Trump’s battle with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat who took office in January.

Bragg has said that a related investigation of Trump that began under his predecessor, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., is “active and ongoing.”

In that wide-ranging probe, investigators have examined whether Trump misled banks and others about the value of his real estate holdings, golf courses and other assets — allegations at the heart of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ pending lawsuit against the former president and his company.

The district attorney’s office has also investigated whether any state laws were broken when Trump’s allies made payments to two women who claimed to have had sexual affairs with the Republican years ago.

Near the end of his tenure last year, Vance directed deputies to present evidence to a grand jury for a possible indictment of Trump. After taking office, though, Bragg let that grand jury disband so he could give the case a fresh look.

On Monday, he confirmed that a new lead prosecutor had been brought on to handle that investigation, signaling again that it was still active.

(AP)

15 COMMENTS

  1. 1. Unlike many recent governmental corruption cases that have been reversed on appeal, this was for private tax evasion and while it doesn’t directly affect Trump it certainly makes him look bad, and could seriously impact the value of some of his assets.

    2. This is the worst possible news for the Democrats, since this year’s elections showed they need to present themselves as the anti-Trumps, and if Trump doesn’t run for president the Democrats will have to defend their rather inept and unpopular policies (e.g. high inflation, dubious foreign policies, punishinbg people who use standard English grammar, etc.).

  2. If anyone really thinks that anyone here is really guilty and this wasn’t just a matter of government overreach and trying to look good, you have your head in the sand.

    Any executive will tell you that you have to weigh your options of fighting through a case. Government has more money, I need to say our money, then the typical company. So it just is better off to cut your losses and get on with life.

    That’s the same thing that probably happened here. After court costs and lawyers fees and whatever, this is probably a bargain.

    And the InJustice department should go to h-ll.

  3. To jerseyjew: Trump Organization fought this case to the end. And lost. What is your point, and how does it relate to the facts and the verdict?

  4. Not even fractionally as corrupt as all of the turnstile jumpers whom I witness literally every day, and I have yet to see a police take any action, even when they see the turnstile jumping.

  5. I feel bad for these diehard Trumpkopf losers who somehow are struggling to rationalize each consecutive political and legal defeat as the product of a vast conspiracy by Trump-haters, Rinos and Trump appointed judges. It only got worse this evening when Trump’s hand-picked candidate in the Georgia election (perhaps the dumbest individual to ever run for the Senate) lost to a mediocre Democratic incumbent. Watching Fox news pundits join the growing chorus of Republican conservatives saying its time to move on from Trump was enough to make you kvell.

  6. ccb45,

    If we remembered Jewish teachings we would not be defending Trump.

    147,

    Turnstile jumping does not justify keeping multiple sets of books in your business. The “everyone is cheating” argument is the argument of a scoundrel.

  7. Donald, if you are reading this, you may take solace in the fact that no matter what happens you will always have the unwavering support of Kanye West, David Duke, Vladimir Putin, Milo Yiannopoulos, and a chorus of folks in the comments section of Yeshiva World News.

  8. The Gemarah speaks about someone that was an hafachfach! Remember:) That’s one of his major problems. If he just stuck to the script of presidency at his time of malchus, he would been seen a nobleman for humbleness is the biggest nobility…