Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.
US & World

Trump Organization faces criminal trial for tax fraud over benefits – Chicago Tribune

Over the years, as Donald Trump has soared from reality TV star to the White House, his real estate empire has received big perks for some of its most trusted executives, including condos and luxury cars.

Now Trump’s campaign, the Trump Organization, is on trial this week for felony tax fraud — on the hook for what prosecutors say was a 15-year scheme by top officials to hide plums and avoid paying taxes.

Opening statements and the first witnesses are expected Monday in New York. Last week, 12 jurors and six alternates were selected for the case, the only criminal trial to stem from the Manhattan district attorney’s three-year investigation into the former president.

Key witnesses for the prosecution include longtime Trump finance chief Allen Weiselberg, who pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the campaign in exchange for five months in prison.

If found guilty, the Trump Organization could be fined more than $1 million and could face difficulties in obtaining new loans and deals. Some partners and government agencies may try to sever relations with the company. It could also hamper her ability to do business with the US Secret Service, which sometimes pays the company for lodging and services while protecting Trump as a former president.

Neither Trump nor any of his children who served as executives of the Trump Organization have been accused or charged with wrongdoing. Trump is not expected to testify or even attend the trial.

Prosecutors said they did not need to prove Trump knew about the scheme to win a conviction and that the case was “not about Donald Trump.” But attorney William J. Brennan said that even when he’s not physically there, Trump is “always there, like a mist in the room.”

That’s because Trump is synonymous with the Trump Organization, the organization through which he manages his many businesses, including his investments in golf courses, luxury towers and other real estate, his many marketing deals and his television appearances.

Trump signed some of the checks at the center of the case. His name appears on memos and other company documents. Witnesses could testify about conversations they had with Trump. They are even expected to enter Trump’s personal ledgers as evidence.

Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization — through its subsidiaries, Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp. — is partially responsible because the former Weiselberg was an “agent of senior management” tasked with acting on behalf of the company and its various entities.

The Trump Organization has said it did nothing wrong. The company’s lawyers argue that Weiselberg and other executives acted independently and that, if anything, their actions caused the company financial harm.

Weiselberg, who pleaded guilty to receiving $1.7 million in kickbacks, placed the blame on himself and other top Trump Organization executives, including senior vice president and controller Jeffrey McConney.

But he disagreed with the notion that the company was harmed, saying the benefits actually saved the company money because it avoided raises.

Prosecutors have said they expect to call 15 witnesses, including Weiselberg and McConey, who was granted limited immunity to testify before a grand jury last year.

Judge Juan Manuel Mercan expects the trial to take at least four weeks, although a lawyer estimated last week that a single charge could last two months. The court will meet all day on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and for half a day on Fridays. Court is adjourned on Wednesday so the judge can attend to other matters.


Related Articles

Back to top button