New York jury finds Trump Org. guilty on 17 counts of tax fraud
A jury convicted former President Donald Trump’s company on multiple tax fraud charges on Tuesday in a New York court.
After deliberating for one day, the jury delivered a guilty verdict on all 17 counts, which included tax fraud and other financial crimes, against the Trump Organization. Prosecutors alleged that executives at the company devised a scheme to avoid paying taxes that included "indirect" payments made to top officers for items like school tuition, apartments and cars. The verdict came after a three-year investigation by prosecutors. Trump was not personally on trial, but prosecutors alleged during the proceedings that he knew of the fraud being committed at the company, a charge he has denied.
The Trump Organization was charged with scheming to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. The guilty verdicts mean it will now face a $1.6 million fine.
The prosecution’s star witness was the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, a longtime executive at the company who pleaded guilty to 15 counts in August. Weisselberg had failed to report nearly $2 million in personal income from 2005 to 2021 and agreed to testify in exchange for a five-month prison sentence instead of a potential 15 years behind bars. Lawyers for the Trump Organization argued during the trial that Weisselberg was solely to blame.
“The notion that a company could be held responsible for an employee’s actions, to benefit themselves, on their own personal tax returns is simply preposterous,” the company said in a statement following Tuesday’s verdict.
Trump reacted to the verdict with a post to his social media site, Truth Social.
"Disappointed with the verdict in Manhattan, but will appeal," Trump wrote, adding, "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 is still being investigated by New York state Attorney General Letitia James for allegedly misleading financial institutions about the value of his various assets, including real estate and golf courses. In September, James announced she was suing Trump and three of his adult children in civil court, seeking $250 million in damages.
“I am announcing today that we are filing a lawsuit against Donald Trump for violating the law as part of his efforts to generate profits for himself, his family and his company,” James said. “The complaint demonstrates that Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us.”
An October 2018 report in the New York Times found that in earlier years Trump had participated in a series of tax schemes related to his father’s real estate empire. James said her investigation began in 2019 after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen discussed these business tactics during testimony under questioning from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in front of the House Oversight Committee.