Trump Organization guilty on all counts in criminal tax scheme
MANHATTAN (CN) — A monthlong criminal tax fraud trial for the Trump Organization ended Tuesday in swift guilty verdicts.
Jurors spent just 10 hours deliberating in what has been the only proceeding to arise from a three-year probe of former President Donald Trump and his business practices.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office brought the case in July 2021, indicting Allen Weisselberg, who was then the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, alongside Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll, two subsidiaries under the umbrella entity that manages Trump's golf courses, hotels and other ventures.
During the course of the trial, prosecutors detailed a scheme by which the defendants worked from 2005 through 2021 to compensate Weisselberg and other high-ranking executives through indirect means, disguising large portions of their salaries as untaxed perks — luxury cars and apartments, to name a few.
Weisselberg has remained on the Trump family payroll even after pleading guilty. Though on leave from his CFO role, the 75-year-old expects to make the same $1.14 million annual salary plus a bonus as when he formally held the title.
The government required Weisselberg to testify as part of his deal. He told jurors last month that his receipt of $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation brought "some benefit to the company but primarily it was, you know, my greed.”
Weisselberg has yet to be sentenced. For the corporate entities, a conviction could carry a fine of more than $1 million. Jurors found both entities guilty on all counts: eight against Trump Payroll and nine against Trump Corp.
Responding to the verdict Tuesday, the Trump Organization continued to push blame for the scheme on the company's loyal CFO. "Mr. Weisselberg testified under oath that he 'betrayed' the trust the company had placed in him and that he, at all times, acted 'solely' for his 'own personal gain' and out of his 'own personal greed,'" a spokesperson said in a statement. "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."
Trump himself was not charged in the case, yet his name filled the room. Prosecutors told jurors in their closing summation last week that the former president was “explicitly sanctioning tax fraud” when he authorized salary reductions for top executives.
Prosecutors argued that the companies are liable because Weisselberg and the controller at Trump Corp., Jeffrey McConney, were “high-managerial” agents entrusted to act on behalf of the company and its various entities.
“The scheme was intended to allow certain employees to substantially understate their compensation from the Trump Organization, so that they could and did pay federal, state, and local taxes in amounts that were significantly less than the amounts that should have been paid,” the indictment alleged.
Prosecutors treated McConney as a hostile witness after he walked back earlier testimony in the trial that implicated the former president with knowledge of the scheme. McConney's legal fees are being covered by the Trumps per his contract.
Trump has denied knowing that Weisselberg and other executives were dodging taxes, writing on his Truth Social platform last week: “There was no gain for ‘Trump,’ and we had no knowledge of it.”