Manhattan jury finds Trump Org. guilty in criminal tax fraud case on 17 counts

In what The New York Times characterized as “a stern rebuke,” a Manhattan jury found Donald Trump’s family real estate business guilty of tax fraud and other financial crimes — then again, Trump’s odds of an impartial verdict are likely in line with Jan. 6 protesters finding a fair jury in Washington, D.C., where 6% of the voters are Republican.

“The conviction on all 17 counts, after more than a day of jury deliberations in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, resulted from a long-running scheme in which the Trump Organization doled out off-the-books luxury perks to some executives: They received fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives, none of which they paid taxes on,” the newspaper reported.

Due to be sentenced in January, the Trump Organization could face up to $1.6 million in fines — Trump Org. attorneys said they plan to appeal. While there is no risk of the former president’s company being dismantled, the Times was quick to claim that the verdict “represents a highly public reckoning for the Trump Organization, forever branding it as a felonious enterprise.”

In the end, this too is all about 2024, as the Times alluded to:

While prosecutors stopped short of indicting the former president, they invoked his name throughout the monthlong trial, telling jurors that he personally paid for some of the perks and even approved a crucial aspect of the scheme. The prosecution also sounded a drumbeat of damning evidence that spotlighted his company’s freewheeling culture, revealing that pervasive illegality unfolded under Mr. Trump’s nose for years.

The company’s conviction — coupled with the prosecution’s explosive claim at trial that Mr. Trump was “explicitly sanctioning tax fraud” — could now reverberate through the 2024 presidential race, providing early fodder for opponents and their attack ads.

 

The outcome is being celebrated as a win for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with the Times saying it “also might lay the groundwork for the district attorney’s office to intensify its broader criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s business practices — and hush money paid to a porn star who said she had an affair with him — an inquiry that gained momentum in recent months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.”

Bragg is reportedly resurrecting the alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels in the hopes of building a criminal case against the 2024 Republican presidential candidate over the hush money she was paid — for the record, Trump has denied that he had any such relationship.

New York Attorney General Leticia James, who vowed to use her office to get Trump while campaigning, took to Twitter to mark the occasion, with Bragg making it clear it was a collaborative effort:

“This was a case about greed and cheating,” Bragg opined. “The Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation got away with a scheme that awarded high-level executives with lavish perks and compensation while intentionally concealing the benefits from the taxing authorities to avoid paying taxes. Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”

Trump offered the following take on Truth Social ahead of the decision:

“Murder and Violent Crime is at an all time high in NYC, and the D.A.’s office has spent almost all of its time & money fighting a political Witch Hunt for D.C. against ‘Trump’ over Fringe Benefits, something that in the history of our Country, has never been so tried in Court before,” he wrote. “Two weeks at trial, yet no MURDER CASE has gone to trial in 6 years, much to the consternation of victims mothers and families who are devastated that NOTHING is being done to bring JUSTICE. Too busy on ‘Donald.'”

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