Trump Organization entities found guilty on all counts of tax fraud; Trump brands 'witch hunt,' vows appeal

Case against Trump Organization was brought by Manhattan district attorney

Two companies with the Trump Organization were found guilty Tuesday on multiple charges of criminal tax fraud in a case brought by the Manhattan district attorney.

A jury deliberated for two days and found two corporate entities at the Trump Organization guilty on all 17 counts – including conspiracy charges and falsifying business records. 


Former President Donald Trump announces a third run for president as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on Nov. 15, 2022. (AP / AP Newsroom)

The verdict followed a trial in which the Trump Organization was accused of being complicit in a scheme by top executives to avoid paying personal income taxes on job perks such as rent-free apartments and luxury cars. The organization faces a possible fine of up to $1.6 million. 


New York prosecutors have spent several years investigating former President Donald Trump and his businesses. Trump, who recently announced that he is running for president again, has said the case against his company was part of a politically motivated "witch hunt" waged against him by vindictive Democrats.

Trump Organization

Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's former chief financial officer, walks to a courtroom in New York on Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig / AP Newsroom)

Trump himself was not on trial, but prosecutors alleged that he "knew exactly what was going on" with the scheme, though he and the company's lawyers have denied that.

The case against the company was built largely around testimony from the Trump Organization's former finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, who previously pleaded guilty to charges that he manipulated the company's books and his own compensation package to illegally reduce his taxes. He testified in exchange for a promised five-month jail sentence.


To convict the Trump Organization, prosecutors had to convince jurors that Weisselberg or his subordinate, Senior Vice President and Controller Jeffrey McConney, were "high managerial" agents acting on the company's behalf and that the company also benefited from his scheme.

Trump Organization lawyers argued that Weisselberg had gone rogue and betrayed the company's trust. No one in the Trump family or the company was to blame, they argued.

Though he testified as a prosecution witness, Weisselberg also attempted to take responsibility on the witness stand, saying nobody in the Trump family knew what he was doing.

Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty to dodging taxes on $1.7 million in fringe benefits, testified that he and McConney conspired to hide that extra compensation from his income by deducting their cost from his pre-tax salary and issuing falsified W-2 forms.

Donald Trump, left, his chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, center, and Donald Trump Jr. attend a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York circa 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File / AP Newsroom)

"Mr. Weisselberg testified under oath that he 'betrayed' the trust the company had placed in him and that he, at all times, acted 'solely' for his 'own personal gain' and out of his ‘own personal greed,’" a spokesperson for the Trump Organization told FOX Business. "The notion that a company could be held responsible for an employee’s actions, to benefit themselves, on their own personal tax returns is simply preposterous."

The spokesperson called the case "unprecedented and legally incorrect" and said the Trump Organization would appeal the verdict.

Trump's office suggested the conviction drained government resources at the expense of "record-setting murder and other forms of violent crime that are taking place in New York City."

His office called the case "a continuation of the Greatest Political Witch Hunt in the History of our Country."

"New York City is a hard place to be a ‘Trump,’ as businesses and people flee our once Great City!" the statement said.

During his closing argument, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass attempted to refute the claim that Trump knew nothing about the scheme. He showed jurors a lease Trump signed for Weisselberg's company-paid apartment and a memo Trump initialed authorizing a pay cut for another executive who got perks.

"Mr. Trump is explicitly sanctioning tax fraud," Steinglass argued.


The verdict doesn't end Trump's battle with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat who took office in January.

Bragg has said that a related investigation of Trump that began under his predecessor, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., is "active and ongoing."

In that wide-ranging probe, investigators have examined whether Trump misled banks and others about the value of his real estate holdings, golf courses and other assets — allegations at the heart of New York Attorney General Letitia James' pending lawsuit against the former president and his company.

Near the end of his tenure last year, Vance directed deputies to present evidence to a grand jury for a possible indictment of Trump. After taking office, though, Bragg let that grand jury disband so that he could give the case a fresh look.


On Monday, he confirmed that a new lead prosecutor has been brought on to handle that investigation, signaling again that it is still active.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.