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Trump Organization convicted in New York criminal tax fraud case

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Two subsidiaries of the Trump Organization were convicted Tuesday by a jury in New York City of multiple crimes, including tax fraud, falsifying business records and conspiracy.

The guilty verdicts on all 17 charged counts come three weeks after the company’s owner, Republican former President Donald Trump, declared his candidacy for the White House in the 2024 election.

Trump was not personally a defendant in the case, which related to a scheme by his company since 2005 to avoid taxes on compensation in the form of perks including free apartments and luxury cars to then-chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and other executives.

But Trump “knew exactly what was going on,” a prosecutor said in closing arguments last week in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Trump in a statement Tuesday evening said he was “disappointed with the verdict, but will appeal.”

Jurors began deliberations on Monday after a trial that featured testimony by Weisselberg, the only person actually charged in the case by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr.’s office.

Defense lawyers had argued that Weisselberg — who earlier pleaded guilty to 15 felony charges — was solely responsible for the scheme, not the Trump Organization.

Trump reiterated this claim in his statement Tuesday, saying: “This case was about Allen Weisselberg committing tax fraud on his personal tax returns, etc., with he and every witness repeatedly testifying that President Trump and the Trump Family knew nothing about his actions, which he admits were done solely for his own benefit, and with no benefit to the two companies.”

Trump’s company faces fines of up to $1.6 million at sentencing. The guilty verdicts also could harm the firm’s ability to obtain loans for its various real estate holdings and other business ventures.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg exits the courtroom at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse following the verdict in Trump Organization’s criminal tax trial in New York City, December 6, 2022.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Trump, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization also still face a pending civil lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James that alleges widespread fraud involving years of false financial statements related to the company. James is seeking at least $250 million in damages in that case.

One of the subsidiaries charged in the criminal case, the Trump Corporation, was convicted of nine counts. The other defendant, the Trump Payroll Corporation, was convicted of the remaining seven counts.

Trump in a post on his Truth Social account Tuesday before the verdicts were announced, falsely described the crime rate in his native New York City as he blasted Bragg for prosecuting his company.

“Murder and Violent Crime is at an all time high in NYC, and the D.A.’s office has spent almost all of its time & money fighting a political Witch Hunt for D.C. against ‘Trump’ over Fringe Benefits,” Trump wrote.

The former president is the focus of multiple criminal probes, including federal investigations into his removal of government documents from the White House, and his efforts to reverse the outcome of his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.

A state grand jury in Georgia is investigating Trump and his allies for their attempts to get election officials there to reverse his loss in the state to Biden.

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