This afternoon, a jury in Manhattan found the
Trump Organization guilty on all 17 counts of tax fraud and falsifying business records in a case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.
So much for Trump’s “Truth” that “The very unfair Manhattan D.A. Fringe Benefits Case, the likes of which has never been prosecuted in our Country before, has fallen apart. There was no gain for “Trump,” and we had no knowledge of it. Even the media is saying that if we are treated fairly, always a big question with me, we win. This Witch Hunt has cost NYC $millions & $millions at a time when violent crime in New York has reached an all time high. Went through 8 million pages of Documents and found NOTHING. Focus on MURDER!!!”
The jurors were unconvinced by the Trump Organization’s argument that the 15-year scheme to compensate high-level employees using pre-tax dollars was perpetrated on the company by nefarious executives simply seeking to stiff Uncle Sam and the New York Department of Taxation and Finance out of their rightful share.
Perhaps this was because it seemed to be common knowledge in the organization that several people in the C-suite, including CFO Allen Weisselberg, were getting hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of housing and cars deducted from their salaries before filing their W-2s. Perhaps it was because no one got fired from the company when this supposed perfidious scheme was uncovered — indeed, Weisselberg testified that he remained at the company and even got a birthday party at the company on the day he supposedly flipped. Perhaps this was because, until he became president, Trump himself signed the private school tuition checks for Weisselberg’s grandchildren that were later deducted from the accountant’s top-line salary. Perhaps it was because Weisselberg’s total compensation remained level for years on end, even as his perks increased and his reported income declined — allowing the Trump Organization to effectively give him a raise on the government’s tab.
“Allen Weisselberg didn’t steal from the company. He stole with the company. The Trump Corporation isn’t the victim in this,” argued prosecutor Joshua Steinglass.
The penalty here is a relatively paltry $1.6 million, or thereabouts — small potatoes for an organization which claims to be worth billions. But the company will still have to face New York Attorney General Letitia James’s civil suit, which aims to put it out of business entirely, or at least impose a much bigger fine. And a criminal conviction is not a great look for a guy who just declared his intention to run for president again.
Of course, we’ve all been assured that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose a supporter, so, perhaps this will have no effect on his standing with the Republican electorate.
Meanwhile in the armpit of MAGAworld, they’re taking the news well.
Stupidest timeline …
Trump Org Tax Fraud Verdict: Guilty on All Counts [Daily Beast]
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.
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