The other shoe is finally starting to drop, and it’s being worn by the long arm of the law! Wait, that’s not right… Well, neither was what the Trump Organization was doing! And that’s official! A jury on Tuesday came back with a verdict of guilty on all counts against the company!
By refusing to share his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump was sending up a bright red flare to law enforcement that something was rotten in the state of New York. His voters may have bought the lie that he was perpetually under audit, but the feds know who they’re auditing. Trump was already well known in NYC as a disreputable businessman — but this was like him shouting, “Hey, cops, don’t look at my finances!” So guess where they looked…
After an investigation spanning several years, the Trump Org and its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg were indicted on charges of tax fraud in 2021. According to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the company was paying its execs — including the CFO — multiple times over, to the tune of millions of dollars. But payments in the form of luxury gifts, tuition for children, etc, were never listed on tax returns — and therefore hidden from the government.
(And yes, this is separate from NY State suing the Trump Org for $250 million for cheating on taxes by making “more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets.” We understand it’s hard to keep all these scandals straight.)
Weisselberg himself pleaded guilty to the 15 charges against him back in August — and attempted to tell prosecutors he had acted alone. They weren’t buying it — like we said they’d dug through years of financial forms and found this scheme was going on for a decade and a half!
So the case went to trial and on Tuesday, after a day of deliberating, the jury found the Trump Org guilty on all 17 counts, including scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told reporters it was a blow against a scheme of “greed and cheating,” claiming victory for the rule of law:
“The former president’s companies now stand convicted of crimes. That is consequential. It underscores that in Manhattan we have one standard of justice for all.”
Well, we wouldn’t underline that point just yet. We’ve seen Trump’s charity get dissolved for illegal self-dealing, his personal lawyer get convicted for campaign finance violations, and now his corporation get convicted of tax fraud. In each case Trump himself was said to have directed the crimes. What has happened to Teflon Don? Nada. It’s like if he shot someone on 5th Avenue, and prosecutors charged the pistol with conspiracy to commit murder.
Are they going to slap the cuffs on Trump Tower? Nope! The organization faces about $1.6 million in fines. It sounds like a lot but considering how much they’re supposed to have taken, it’s a slap on the wrist. And the rest of the top brass at the Trump Org — including executive vice presidents Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump — aren’t even going to feel it.
If a normal person cheats their taxes, even if it’s through their company, they go to prison. Even celebs! Ask Todd Chrisley, Wesley Snipes, The Situation, and Teresa Giudice! The Trumps? Nope!
So yeah, not exactly “one system of justice” at all. What do YOU think of our justice system’s conviction??
[Image via MEGA/WENN.]