Was it a political witch hunt or justice served?
By: James Fite December 06, 2022. Link
A jury in New York found the Trump Organization guilty on all counts in a tax fraud investigation Tuesday, December 6. The verdict came on the second day of deliberations after a trial in which the former president’s business was accused of being involved in an almost 15-year-long plot by top executives to avoid paying personal income taxes on perks of the job, like luxury cars and rent-free apartments. The two corporate entities involved were found guilty on all 17 charges levied against them, which include conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records. The convictions could result in about $1.6 million in fines.
The Trump Organization and former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg were indicted last year after an investigation into the company’s financial practices by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Two corporations that are part of the company, Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp., stood accused of padding executive pay, tax-free, through numerous schemes that included off-the-books perks. What’s never reported as income can never be taxed as such.
“For 13 years the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation got away with a scheme that awarded high-level executives with lavish perks and compensation while intentionally concealing the benefits from the taxing authorities to avoid paying taxes,” Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg said. “Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”
Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty to 15 felony charges in August and was the prosecutors’ star witness. The companies argued that the former exec – who’s still on the Trump Organization’s payroll, reportedly – was the lone bad actor. “We are here today because of one reason and one reason only, because of the greed of Allen Weisselberg,” defense attorney Susan Necheles said during the closing argument.
The jury clearly disagreed, finding both companies guilty on all counts. The Donald himself, however, was not charged. Still, the conviction represents a win for the anti-Trump crowd, and the former president declared the case a “political Witch Hunt for D.C. against ‘Trump’” on his social media platform, Truth Social.