NEW YORK (AP) — More than three years after Manhattan prosecutors began investigating Donald Trump, resulting from their efforts after two Supreme Court appearances to access his tax records. The only criminal trial is about to begin.
No, the former president cannot be put on trial. his company.
The Trump Organization, the holding company for Trump’s buildings, golf courses and other assets, has said some executives will avoid income taxes on compensation they earn on top of their salaries, such as rent-free apartments and luxury cars. accused of helping
Trump signed several checks at the center of the case, but he hasn’t been charged with anything and isn’t expected to testify or attend a trial that begins with jury selection on Monday.
If found guilty, the Trump Organization could be fined more than $1 million, but the potential repercussions don’t end there.
Trump’s die-hard supporters are unlikely to abandon him no matter what the outcome, but a conviction could hinder his firm’s ability to get loans and make deals. could use the legal cloud as a new justification to try to ban the company from operating city-owned golf courses.
Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said his office’s investigation into Trump was “active and ongoing” and a final determination was still pending on whether he could face future criminal charges. said it was not.
Mr Trump, a Republican, has denounced the investigation as a “political witch hunt”.
The Trump Organization says 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 weighs heavily on financial records and expert testimony, to take at least four weeks after the jury sits down. Given Trump’s reputation as a businessman and divisive politician, it could be a while before he finds a juror who feels he can decide the case fairly.
The prosecution’s star witness is expected to be Allen Weisselberg, one of President Trump’s most trusted senior officials.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August to receiving tax-free benefits from the company worth more than $1.7 million. This includes his grandson’s school tuition, his Manhattan apartment, and his and his wife’s Mercedes cars.
His testimony was part of a plea bargain requiring him to serve up to five months at the Rikers Island prison complex in New York City, but he could be released if he behaved well in just over three months. may occur. The former Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization will have to pay about $2 million in taxes, fines and interest and complete five years of probation.
The 75-year-old Weisselberg, who worked for the Trump Organization financially for nearly 50 years, is not expected to involve Trump or his family in his testimony.
Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty, held himself and other Trump Organization executives, including senior vice president and controller Jeffrey McConey, accountable for the plan.
McConney was granted limited immunity to testify before a grand jury last year and could even stand on the witness stand at trial. Calamari Jr. also received immunity from grand jury testimony.
When the Trump Organization and Weisselberg were indicted in 2021, prosecutors called the tax plan “drastic and bold” and said it was “organized by top officials.”
Along with Weisselberg, two other Trump Organization executives (who were not named) also received substantial compensation, including payments for hotel accommodations and car leases, according to the indictment.
“The purpose of the scheme was to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization officials in an ‘off-the-books’ manner,” the indictment said.
The Trump Organization is the organization through which the former president manages many businesses, including real estate investments, many marketing deals, and television appearances.
Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, have been in charge of the day-to-day operations since he took office. Criminal trials involve prosecuting corporate entities, not individuals, so if the jury finds them guilty, the Trumps won’t be held personally responsible.
The criminal case is one of two pending in New York courts and threatens to chip away at the gilded facade of Trump’s empire.
Last month, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil suit against Trump and the Trump Organization for years of misleading banks and others about the value of his assets. The civil lawsuit seeks $250 million and a permanent ban on Trump from doing business in the state.
James became an independent observer overseeing the activities of the Trump Organization after she claimed the company was taking steps to avoid potential penalties, including incorporating a new entity named the Trump Organization II. A court hearing is scheduled for October 31 on this issue.
That’s not the only legal issue Trump faces as he considers his re-election chances.
Last week, Trump testified under oath in a lawsuit filed by magazine columnist E. Gene Carroll.
Meanwhile, the FBI continues to investigate classified government documents Trump kept at his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida.
A special grand jury in Georgia is investigating whether Trump and others tried to influence state election officials.
On Friday, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots issued a subpoena to Trump.
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