Manhattan jury found two Trump Organizations are guilty on multiple charges of criminal tax fraud and falsification business records connected to 15-year scheme to defraud the tax authorities by evading reporting and paying taxes on compensation for top managers.
The Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation were found guilty on all accusations are faced.
Donald Trump and his family have not been charged in this case, but former The president was mentioned multiple times during the trial prosecutors about its connection with benefits out some executives, including apartments financed by the company, car rent and personal expenses.
The Trump Organization may face a maximum of $1.61 million in sentencing penalties in mid January. The company is not risk of dismantled because, under New York law, there is no mechanism that would dissolve company. However, a criminal conviction may affect his ability do business or get loans or contracts.
The guilty verdict comes as Trump is under federal and state scrutiny. prosecutors for his appeal of secret documents, attempt to cancel the 2020 election results and accuracy of Trump Organization business records and financial statements. He also facing $250 million civil lawsuit from New York attorney general claiming that he and his adult children were involved in decade scam. Advocate general seeks to permanently ban them from serving as officers or director of company in State of New York, among other punishments.
“It was a case of greed and fraud,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation are gone with scheme that rewarded high-level executives with generous benefits and compensation deliberately concealing benefits from the tax authorities for avoid payment of taxes. Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-term criminal scheme.”
CNN senior law analyst as well as former U.S. Attorney Eli Honig said Bragg’s approach was justified.
“Obviously it’s a failure for Trump Org. – major failure for Trump Org. Now they were found guilty of criminal lead, criminal tax fraud,” Honig told CNN’s Victor Blackwell. on “News”.
“His also victory of varieties for District Attorney of Manhattan,” Honig said. “Their theory, now that part of income for employees, including Allen Weisselberg, received additional payments in order avoid tax liability – this theory was confirmed.
Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told the jury. in closing arguments that Trump “clearly sanctioned” tax fraud and urged them to reject the defense’s argument that former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg Was a Fraudster employee guided by their own personal greed.
“This whole story about Donald Trump being blissfully ignorant, just No trueSteinglass said.
The jury heard that Trump agreed on whim to pay private schooling for grandchildren of their Weisselberg and signed a lease for an apartment in Manhattan to reduce commuting time. Trump personally signed his employees bonus checks for Christmas and he initialed a memorandum for a pay cut of other top managers who prosecutors said he knew all along about the fraudulent scheme.
The accusers argued for years top managers reduced their stated wages amount of additional benefits provided by the company avoid payment required taxes.
Weisselberg, who is on paid vacation from the company, spent three days on witness stand. He pleaded guilty to 15 felonies for non-payment of taxes on $1.76 million in income. As part of his plea deal, he will be sentenced to five months in jail if the judge finds that he gave truthful testimony.
In his testimony, Weisselberg admitted that should paid taxes on compensation for a total amount of approximately $200,000 in one year, which included a luxury Manhattan apartment overlooking the Hudson River, two Mercedes Benz cars car rent, parking, utilities, furniture and private schooling for his grandchildren. He also testified that he paid himself and other executives bonuses as if they were independent consultants, allowing Trump’s companies to evade taxes. on them.
Weisselberg showed what he pulled off scheme with in help of his subordinate, Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConnie. McConnie, who received immunity for testify before grand jury admitted to some of illegal behavior in his testimony.
After Trump elected president, as Weisselberg testified, was “pure up” and more of illegal activities have stopped.
He showed the conversations he had with Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr., but told jurors when questioned by Trump’s lawyers that he did not plot or participate in the conspiracy. with anyone in Trump family.
Weisselberg broke down at times, telling jurors he was “embarrassed” by his behavior and that he had “betrayed” Trump. family, who was his employer for 49 years old.
prosecutors and defense lawyers called out Weisselberg Loyalty Sharing – Desire live up to his plea deal and serve below jail sentence and his allegiance to Trump family, who can pay him 1 million dollars in compensation this is year.
To prove company wines, prosecutors it was necessary to demonstrate that Weisselberg or McConnie were “high-ranking management agents”. who committed crimes in scale of his employment andin on behalf of of” company.
prosecutors and defense the lawyers went in circles argue over what kind “in on behalf of of” meant.
Judge Juan Mercan also fought over how to explain this phrase to the jury, and turned to two legal treaties to draw up a definition.
The judge explained this to the jury, saying, “By definition of ‘in on behalf of of”it is not necessary that criminal actions actually benefit the corporation. But the actions of an agent are not in the name of a corporation if they were taken solely to advance the agents’ own interests. Put another way if the agent’s actions were taken simply for personal gain, they were not ‘in on behalf of of”Corporation”.
Weisselberg walked a fine line in his testimony, telling the jury that he never wanted to hurt the company, they were motivated by greed and mainly wanted pay less in taxes. But he also said he knew at the time that the company would benefit somewhat from his schemes.
In his testimony, Weisselberg said: “It was beneficial for the company, but primarily because of my greed.” He told the jury that the company saved money paying less taxes on his off-books compensation and admitted when prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked if, although his principal goal It was avoid taxes, it also benefited the company.
“To some extent, yes,” Weisselberg testified.
Weisselberg said he and McConnie knew at the time that the company would pay less payroll taxes under the scheme, although he said they never explicitly discussed it.
Trump’s lawyers repeatedly told jurors that “Weisselberg did it.” for Weisselberg” to emphasize that he was driven solely by personal greed.
Under cross-examination, Weisselberg agreed that decision not paying taxes was his and made solely for their own benefit.
“It was my intention,” Weisselberg said when questioned by Trump’s lawyers, “to benefit myself.”
Lawyers for Trump organizations called just one fact witness, real longtime real estate accountant Donald Bender of Mazars USA, who previously turned down Trump as a client year.
Trump’s lawyers said Bender either knew of in off-books compensation or should caught in tax fraud and charged him of lying on rack.
Question prosecutors Bender testified that he trusted and relied on Weisselberg, who testified that he was hiding an illegal scheme.
Attorney Steinglass told jurors that the Trump companies were guilty and that the illegal scheme was concocted “so employees can get more net pay, costing the Trump Corporation less. it win-win – unless you are the tax authorities.”
This story was updated with additional details.