Deliberations have started in the Trump Organization tax fraud trial and the judge told jurors to 'set aside' any Trump biases

This side-by-side photo shows Donald Trump speaking at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nevada, on October 8, 2022, left, and the exterior of Trump Tower, home of the Trump Organization headquarters, in July of 2021, right.
Donald Trump speaking at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nevada, on October 8, 2022, left, and the exterior of Trump Tower, home of the Trump Organization headquarters, in July of 2021, right.José Luis Villegas/AP, left; Ted Shaffrey/AP, right.
  • Deliberations began Monday in the Trump Organization tax-fraud trial.

  • Jurors must decide if the company is criminally liable for its top financial executives' tax crimes.

  • 'Set aside any personal opinions or biases you may have against Trump,' the judge instructed.

The jury has begun deliberations in the Trump Organization tax-fraud trial in Manhattan — but first, jurors were reminded of their promise to set aside any bias they may have against former President Donald Trump or his company.

"Jurors, you will recall that during jury selection, you promised that you would set aside any personal opinions or biases you may have against Donald Trump or his family," they were instructed by New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who has presided over the six-week trial.

"I now remind you of your promises and remind you that Donald Trump and his family are not on trial here before you," the judge told them as part of hour-long instructions given Monday morning before the start of their deliberations.

Three of the sworn jurors — a full quarter of the jury — said during jury selection that they don't like Trump or his politics. But the three also promised to be fair and to weigh the trial evidence without bias.

It's a mostly minority, mostly middle-class jury that has now been sent to the deliberations room, a room equipped with a laptop, a large monitor, and some 400 financial records, including some that are thousands of pages long.

The jury must determine if two subsidiaries of the former president's company — the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation, both doing business as the Trump Organization — are criminally liable for a decade-long tax-dodge scheme run by the company's two top financial executives.

Both of these executives, ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg and payroll chief Jeffrey McConney, have admitted they systematically broke the law by cooking the payroll books.

Prosecutors have said they did so to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes a year for the company's top executives, a half-dozen men one rung down the corporate ladder from the Trump family itself.

To find the subsidiaries guilty of nine tax-related crimes — including scheme to defraud, conspiracy, and falsifying records — jurors must agree that Weisselberg and/or McConney intended to enrich the company, not just themselves.

They must acquit the subsidiaries of any counts if they find the two top moneymen acted merely for their own personal gain.

Read the original article on Business Insider