November 29, 2022

JURY DILEMMA: How to find 12 New Yorkers who don’t hate Trump

TRUMP JURY DILEMMA: How to find 12 New Yorkers who don't hate Trump

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Jury selection began today in the criminal trial of the former President’s Trump Organization for tax evasion. After lasting a century and through five generations, the six-times-bankrupt businessman may soon be able to add the family business to his list of failed ventures.

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Charged with nine counts, including conspiracy, falsifying records, and criminal tax fraud, the company is alleged to have paid employees under the table – in the form of high ticket “gifts,” like paying for private schools, luxury apartments, and cars.

According to NPR, “The alleged scheme stretches back to 2005, the year Trump married his third wife, Melania, through his 2016 campaign, his presidency, and the first half-year after his presidency ended.”

In charging documents, prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office called the Trump Organization’s alleged conduct “a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud.”

Longtime Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg – a key witness in the case – pled guilty in August to multiple felonies, including grand larceny, tax fraud, and falsifying business records. Weisselberg agreed to a five-month stint in prison, and to pay $1.9 million in back taxes and fines.

Though less than cooperative, the Trump loyalist agreed to testify against his boss. Despite his guilty plea, Weisselberg is on paid leave from the organization.

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The Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, says he expects Weisselberg to provide “invaluable” testimony against the Trump family business.

Trump himself is not on trial but was involved in the tax evasion scheme. According to prosecutors, they can prove the former President personally signed checks to pay for private school tuitions of those in Weisselberg’s family.

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The Trump Organization also paid for a New York City apartment for the financial executive and his wife. According to the indictment,

Beginning on or about March 31, 2005, the Trump Corporation maintained a lease for an apartment on Riverside Boulevard in New York, New York. The building, one of several buildings on the West Side of Manhattan previously known Astroplate,” was not owned by the Trump Organization, and the Trump Organization paid rent pursuant to the lease. From the beginning of the lease through June 30, 2021, the sole residents in the apartment have been Allen Weisselberg and his spouse, and Weisselberg maintained the apartment as his permanent place of abode.

“The Trump Organization reduced the amount of direct compensation that Weisselberg received in the form of checks or direct deposits to account for the indirect compensation that he received in the form of payments of rent, utility bills, and garage expenses.” Those payments were not reported to tax authorities, and taxes were not withheld, they say.

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With several criminal and civil investigations into ex-President Trump, it seems following the money may be his ultimate downfall. The clock is ticking.

The company has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Read the indictment here.

Original reporting by Ilya Marritz at NPR.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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