Trump Organization on Trial for Criminal Tax Fraud

Alexandra Saffman

This past October, the Trump Organization, owned by former President Donald Trump, has been under criminal trial in New York, accused of paying executives off the books through untaxed perks over the past 15 years. If convicted of criminal tax fraud, the company could face more than $1 million in fines. 

In August, Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer (CFO), pleaded guilty to 15 felony charges of tax fraud within the company and is expected to testify within the next couple of weeks. He admitted that he used company money to finance his grandchildren’s private school tuition, BMW cars, and Manhattan House. Weisselberg is to serve five months in jail (followed by 5 of probation) and pay $2 million in tax fines by following his plea deal. Susan Necheles, the chief lawyer representing the Trump Organization, has argued that the organization was unaware of Weisselberg’s crimes and that he acted as an individual not a representative of the company. Both the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Cooperation have pleaded not guilty. Donald Trump himself has called the trial a “witch hunt.” 

The trial has been slow to begin as political bias has impeded the selection of jurors. It is expected to continue over the next couple of months and is being overseen by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.