A New York jury found the Trump Organization, a group of business entities owned by former President Donald Trump, guilty of tax fraud and other crimes. The panel’s decision was announced in New York’s Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office alleged the company engaged in a 15-year tax fraud scheme, with executives reaping off-the-books compensation in the form of gifts to help them avoid paying income tax.
Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told jurors on Thursday that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” with his company’s fraud.
The prosecution relied on the testimony of Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer who had worked for the Trump company since 1973.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty to the 15 counts he was charged with — including conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records — in a deal with prosecutors. He admitted to avoiding taxes on about $1.7 million.
The prosecution described Weisselberg as a “high managerial agent” for the company and said the Trump Organization stood to benefit from his lawbreaking.
The defence claimed Weisselberg’s actions benefited himself, not the company, and claimed the Trump Organization is innocent of wrongdoing, according to The Associated Press.
“We are here today for one reason and one reason only: the greed of Allen Weisselberg,” Susan Necheles, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said Thursday.
Trump, who wasn’t personally charged in the case, denied he knew about the scheme.
On Sunday, he called the case a “Witch Hunt!” and a “SCAM!”.