7th December, 2022
Two companies owned by former US President Donald Trump were convicted of tax fraud Tuesday for helping executives dodge taxes on extravagant perks such as Manhattan apartments and luxury cars.
The verdict by a jury was a repudiation of financial practices at the former president’s business as he mounts another run for the White House.
The jury found the two entities at the Trump Organisation guilty on all 17 counts, including charges of conspiracy and falsifying business records. Trump himself was not on trial.
The verdict in state court in New York came after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days.
The conviction was validation for New York authorities who say their three-year investigation into Trump and his businesses is continuing.
The probe, which began as an inquiry into hush-money payments made on Trump’s behalf, later morphed into an examination of the company’s asset valuation and pay practices.
The company faces a fine of up to $1.6 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 13. The defence said it will appeal.
“A former president’s companies now stand convicted of crimes. That is consequential,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said outside the courtroom.
“It underscores that in Manhattan we have one standard of justice for all.”
Trump, a Republican who launched his 2024 campaign last month during the trial, blasted the verdict as a part of a Democrat-led “MANHATTAN WITCH HUNT!”
“This case is unprecedented and involved no monetary gain to these two Corporations,” Trump said in a statement, adding: “New York City is a hard place to be ‘Trump.’”
The verdict adds to mounting legal woes for Trump, who faces a criminal investigation in Washington over the retention of top-secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate, as well as efforts to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Those inquiries are being led by a newly named Justice Department special counsel. The district attorney in Atlanta is also leading an investigation into attempts by Trump and his allies to overturn his loss in that state.