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‘This is how Putin treats his enemies’: Don Jr slams NY DA’s ‘witch hunt’ after Trump CFO’s charged

Donald Trump Jr has accused New York prosecutors of acting like Vladimir Putin  and running ‘a banana republic’ after the Trump Organization chief financial officer was indicted on charges of tax fraud.

Allen Weisselberg, 73, appeared before a judge in New York on Thursday, charged with running a 15-year scheme to help its executives evade taxes by compensating them with $1.7 million in fringe benefits that were hidden from the authorities.

Weisselberg is considered a ‘soldier’ in the Trump Organization, having worked for the company ever since 1973, under Donald Trump’s father Fred. 

Trump Jr, an executive vice president at The Trump Organization, told Fox News‘ Jesse Watters on Thursday that the charges against Weisselberg were akin to those pressed by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Allen Weiselberg, 73, was indicted on Thursday on charges of tax avoidance

Weisselberg is seen being led through a Manhattan court on Thursday, to appear before a judge

Weisselberg is seen being led through a Manhattan court on Thursday, to appear before a judge

A loose pair of handcuffs, which would be used to secure him to an escort, can be seen behind Weisselberg's back as he is brought into court to hear 15 charges against him

A loose pair of handcuffs, which would be used to secure him to an escort, can be seen behind Weisselberg’s back as he is brought into court to hear 15 charges against him

Weisselberg (center) is seen with Donald Trump and his son, Don Jr, in January 2017

Weisselberg (center) is seen with Donald Trump and his son, Don Jr, in January 2017 

‘This is the political persecution of a political enemy,’ he said.

‘This is what Vladimir Putin does. Just ask Navalny,’ Trump Jr said referencing the dissident Alexei Navalny.

‘That’s what’s happened in New York.’

Trump Jr said that it was ‘the equivalent of Russia, Russia, Russia.’

He added: ‘After five years, three million documents, countless witnesses and hours of grand jury testimony and forensic auditors, this is what they come up with.

‘They’re going to charge a guy who is 75 years old on crimes of avoiding taxes on fringe benefit.

‘People in corporate America get a corporate card. 

Trump Jr told Jesse Watters that the prosecution was akin to that happening in Putin's Russia

Trump Jr told Jesse Watters that the prosecution was akin to that happening in Putin’s Russia

The 15 counts against the Trump Organization and its long-serving chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg 

Prosecutors unveiled their case against Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday. It contained 15 charges, several of which only apply to the chief financial officer. They are: 

  1. Scheme to defraud in the first degree 
  2. Conspiracy in the fourth degree
  3. Grand larceny in the second degree (Weisselberg only) 
  4. Criminal tax fraud in the third degree 
  5. Criminal tax fraud in the third degree 
  6. Criminal tax fraud in the third degree 
  7. Criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree 
  8. Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree (Weisselberg only) 
  9. Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree (Weisselberg only) 
  10. Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree (Weisselberg only) 
  11. Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree (Weisselberg only) 
  12. Falsifying business records in the first degree 
  13. Falsifying business records in the first degree 
  14. Falsifying business records in the first degree 
  15. Falsifying business records in the first degree 

‘I’m sure you’ve paid taxes every time you’ve taken a car to or from work. It happens sometimes.

‘This is what – this is not what they promised the American public, but they have to do something.’ 

The Trump Organization was also charged in a 15-count indictment, that included charges of conspiracy, grand larceny, tax fraud and falsifying business accounts. The maximum prison sentence is 15 years, but he would likely get less, if any time at all.

Assistant District Attorney Carey Dunne said: ‘As spelled out in the indictment, this was a 15-year long tax fraud scheme.

‘It was orchestrated by the most senior executives who were financially benefiting themselves and others.’  

Trump Jr said that they deliberately announced the charges on the Thursday of the July 4 weekend ‘because it’s nonsense’.

He added: ‘But this is what they do to their enemies. No different than Putin.’

The indictment accused Weisselberg of failing to pay tax on two leased Mercedes-Benzes, a rent-free apartment, bonuses and about $360,000 in school fees paid for by the Trump Organization.

It also said that other, unnamed executives were given similar benefits and that Weisselberg orchestrated the scheme with ‘others.’ 

He accused the New York officials of attempting ‘to destroy a man’s life, his reputation’, and said it was like living ‘in a banana republic’.

Trump Jr added: ‘And in this is what they’ve got after all of that time.

‘Imagine the millions they spent had they done that actually trying to stop real criminals in New York, like the tens of thousands that looted in New York last year.

‘Hundreds of thousands of them were released without even a slap on the wrist just last week.

‘Penn station is like a war zone. The city is going to hell and this is where they are focusing. ‘

Weisselberg pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. Former president Donald Trump's company and its long-serving chief financial officer were charged in the first indictments brought in a two-year investigation

Weisselberg pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. Former president Donald Trump’s company and its long-serving chief financial officer were charged in the first indictments brought in a two-year investigation

Trump Jr disputed the $1.7 million figure, insisting that it was income.

‘The taxable portion of that to New York state is 8 per cent,’ he claimed.

‘That’s $136,000 over 16 years. That’s ten grand a year.

‘Half of that, because my father is a good guy, he paid for this guy’s grandchildren’s education.

‘Our tax experts say that’s not even taxable. You can pay for someone’s education that way. It comes out to less than ten grand a year. ‘

He concluded: ‘This is a farce. It’s a disgrace that they spent millions of dollars and years, instead of prosecuting actual murderous thugs on the streets of New York, they go after their political enemies.’

The Trump Organization released a statement saying Weisselberg was being used as a 'pawn' in an effort to harm the former president. Perks given to employees are believed to be at the center of the investigation

The Trump Organization released a statement saying Weisselberg was being used as a ‘pawn’ in an effort to harm the former president. Perks given to employees are believed to be at the center of the investigation


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