The Trump company faces a criminal case in an off-books payroll scheme
More than three years after Manhattan DAs began investigating donald trump – after going to the Supreme Court twice Get access to their tax records – the only criminal case that has resulted from their efforts is imminent.
No, the former president will not be put on trial. His company is.
The Trump Organization, the holding company for Trump’s buildings, golf courses, and other assets, is accused of helping some top executives avoid income taxes on the compensation they receive on top of their salaries, such as rent-free apartments and luxury cars.
Trump signed some of the checks at the center of the case, but he has not been charged with anything and is not expected to testify or attend the trial, which begins Monday with jury selection.
If convicted, the Trump Organization could be fined more than $1 million – but that’s not the only potential fallout.
Trump’s ardent supporters are unlikely to abandon him no matter what the outcome, but a guilty verdict could affect his company’s ability to obtain credit and do business. New York City, for example, could use the legal cloud as a new justification for trying to oust the company from management a municipal golf course.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, said his office’s investigation into Trump was “active and ongoing” and that no final decision had been made on whether he could be prosecuted in the future.
Republican Trump has described the investigation as a “political witch hunt.”
The Trump Organization has said it has done nothing wrong and looks forward to “having our day in court.”
Judge Juan Manuel Merchan expects the criminal tax fraud trial, which will weigh on financial records and expert testimony, to last at least four weeks once a jury sits. Given Trump’s fame as a businessman and a polarizing politician, it could take a while to find a jury who believes they can judge the case impartially.
Allen Weisselberg, one of Trump’s most trusted executives, is expected to testify for the prosecution.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August Received over $1.7 million in untaxed benefits from the company, including tuition for his grandchildren, an apartment in Manhattan, and Mercedes cars for him and his wife.
His testimony is part of a plea deal that requires him to serve up to five months in New York’s Rikers Island prison complex, although he could be released in just over three months if he behaves well. The former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization also faces nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest and is serving five years of probation.
Weisselberg, 75, has intimate knowledge of the Trump Organization’s financial affairs from nearly five decades at the company, but is not expected to implicate Trump or any members of the Trump family in his testimony.
By pleading guilty, Weisselberg blamed himself and other senior Trump Organization executives, including senior vice president and controller Jeffrey McConney, for the scheme.
McConney was granted limited immunity to testify before a grand jury last year and was also able to appear on the witness stand during the trial. The company’s safety director, Matthew Calamari Jr., the son of chief operating officer Matthew Calamari Sr., also received immunity from the grand jury testimony.
When the Trump Organization and Weisselberg were indicted in 2021Prosecutors called the tax system “comprehensive and bold” and said it was “orchestrated by the highest executives.”
In addition to Weisselberg, two other Trump Organization executives, who were not named, also received substantial covert compensation, including housing and payment of car leases, the indictment said.
“The purpose of the plan was to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives in a manner that was ‘off the books,'” the indictment reads.
The Trump Organization is the entity through which the former president manages his many ventures, including his real estate investments, his many marketing deals, and his television activities.
Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric have been responsible for day-to-day operations since he took office. Because the criminal trial involves charges against the legal entity and not individuals, the Trumps will not be held personally liable if a jury returns a guilty verdict.
The criminal case is one of two legal cases making their way through the New York courts, threatening to chip the gilded facade of Trump’s empire.
Last month, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil suit Trump and the Trump Organization accuse years of misleading banks and others about the value of his wealth. The civil lawsuit is seeking $250 million and a permanent ban on Trump doing business in the state.
A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for October 31 as James is seeking an independent observer to oversee the activities of the Trump Organization after claiming the company is taking steps to evade potential penalties, such as creating a new entity called the Trump Organization II.
Those aren’t the only legal challenges Trump faces as he weighs a potential comeback campaign for the presidency.
Trump gave affidavit last week Lawsuit brought by magazine columnist E. Jean Carrollwho says he raped her in a department store fitting room in the mid-1990s.
Meanwhile, the FBI continues to investigate Trump’s custody sensitive government documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
A special grand jury in Georgia investigates whether Trump and others attempted to influence state election officials.
On Friday, the House Committee will examine the January 6 riot Trump issued a subpoena.