In a big win for prosecutors in Manhattan, Donald Trump's family company has been found guilty of tax fraud. After just over a day of deliberations, a jury found the Trump Organization guilty on all 17 counts connected to a 15-year scheme in which top execs were rewarded with off-the-books perks like rent-free apartments, NBC reports. The charges included criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. The company is expected to face fines of around $1.6 million, which is a relatively paltry sum for a firm the size of the Trump Organization, though the AP notes "the conviction might make some of its future deals more complicated."
The prosecution relied on testimony from Allen Weisselberg, the company's former chief financial officer. The 75-year-old pleaded guilty to 15 felonies in August, admitting that he received $1.7 million in untaxed perks. Under a plea deal, he received a five-month prison sentence and agreed to testify in the case against the company. During the trial, company lawyers said he had gone rogue, arguing that "Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg," the AP reports. Weisselberg said nobody in the Trump family knew what he was doing, though prosecutors disagreed, presenting evidence that they said shows the former president was "explicitly sanctioning tax fraud."
Former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, who started the investigation, praised the verdict, the New York Times reports. "This was a clear-cut case of tax fraud. It’s remarkable how long it took, including two Supreme Court arguments to get the records to bring this case, but this stage in the investigation is over, and I hope it continues," he said. His successor, Alvin Bragg, described the verdict as "consequential." "It underscores that in Manhattan we have one standard of justice for all," he said. Bragg has said that a related investigation of Trump's own financial dealings is "active and ongoing." (More Trump Organization stories.)