UNITED STATES. Five questions to understand the stakes of the Trump Organization trial

The trial for fraud and tax evasion of the Trump Organization, Donald Trump’s family business, opened this Monday, October 24, 2022 in New York, an embarrassing spectacle for the former president who is however not personally targeted by this criminal aspect. questions to better understand the why and how of this survey.

What do we blame the Trump Organization for?

This lawsuit concerns accusations of irregularities since 2005 in the accounts of the Trump Organization and of compensation received by leaders having been hidden from the tax authorities.

The Trump Organization, which pleaded not guilty, is notably accused of having kept parallel accounts, under the supervision of Mr. Weisselberg, to conceal the salary supplements that he and other leaders received.

The former financial director of the family group, Allen Weisselberg, 75, reached an agreement with justice in August and pleads guilty to 15 counts of fraud and tax evasion relating to 1.76 million dollars of undeclared income between 2005 and 2021.

Who will testify?

According to the agreement, Mr. Weisselberg must pay almost two million dollars in taxes, with penalties and interest, and testify at the trial. He has so far always refused to testify against Donald Trump personally.

This close friend of Donald Trump, who is therefore not being prosecuted but is appearing as a witness, admitted to having benefited from undeclared benefits in kind: an apartment in an upscale neighborhood of Manhattan, the rental of two Mercedes for him and his wife, or cash for vacation.

He will be one of the key witnesses in the trial against the company, currently run by two of the former president’s sons — Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump — which owns real estate investments, hotels and golf courses. Two subsidiaries, Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp, are targeted.

Donald Trump in person, his two sons and their sister Ivanka could be called as witnesses, according to the judge.

How long will the trial last?

The trial could then last a month and a half and begins with the selection of jurors.

According to television networks and the Washington Post, press access to the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan was made difficult by Judge Juan Merchan, who warned the 130 candidates for jury that their selection could take a week in order to eliminate the supporters and opponents of the former Republican president.

What is Trump himself risking in this case?

Donald Trump is not personally targeted in this case, but as soon as the trial opened, he thundered on his Truth Social social network, accusing his political opponents, President Joe Biden’s Democrats, of pursuing a ” witch hunt “ two weeks before the mid-term legislative elections.

Donald Trump, who has not officially announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election but does not hide his ambitions, is on the other hand targeted personally by the civil component of this sprawling investigation by the State of New York against the Trump Organization.

These civil proceedings also relate to suspicions of tax evasion within the family group and have been conducted vigorously since 2019 by the Attorney General of New York State, Democrat Letitia James. She announced in September lawsuits against Donald Trump and his children and claims $ 250 million in reparations.

What does the Trump organization risk?

If the facts are proven, the company could be fined around $1.7 million.

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