Trump Sharpie Has Now Scrawled Its Way Into the Trump Org Trial

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  • The Trump Organization’s tax fraud trial is in its second week at a Manhattan courthouse.
  • Jurors on Tuesday saw the first evidence linking the alleged fraud to the company’s top executives.
  • Donald and Eric Trump’s signatures may refute defense claims that the settlement ended with subordinates.

Jurors in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial have seen the first evidence linking Donald Trump directly to the case, including key documents bearing the former president’s signature Sharpie-scribbled signatures and initials.

This early breakthrough from the prosecution came Tuesday in a Manhattan courtroom, where Trump’s real estate and golf resort empire — though not Trump himself — is on trial for allegedly helping its executives cheat on their income taxes.

The jurors were shown what the prosecution said, and what a witness confirmed were Trump’s signatures on half a dozen key letters and payroll documents. It’s evidence intended to refute the defense’s claims that the tax avoidance scheme stopped one rung from the top of the company, meaning no one named Trump was involved.

The documents were introduced by the trial’s first witness, Jeffrey McConney, who is responsible for payroll and tax reporting as the Trump Organization’s controller.

McConney would derail the trial on Tuesday afternoon by testing positive for COVID-19 during the lunch break. His testimony – and the trial itself – is tentatively scheduled to resume Monday morning.

But during his morning in the stands on Tuesday — and in between coughing fits — McConney managed to wreak havoc on the defense by repeatedly saying “Donald Trump,” “Mr. Trump” and “President Trump” when asked to surrender. identify. the signatures are displayed on courtroom screens.

“Whose signature is that?” Joshua Steinglass, one of the two lead prosecutors, asked McConney as jurors looked at an overhead projection of a May 1, 2005 letter.

“President Trump,” McConney said of the signature, identifying the now widely recognized mini-mountain range of Sharpie ink at the bottom of the letter.

“And is that his full signature?”

“Yes,” McConney replied.

In the 17-year letter, Trump personally approved a $6,500-a-month lease for an apartment on the Hudson River waterfront in Manhattan; Trump’s letter said it would be occupied exclusively by his longtime Chief Financial Officer.

“In other words, Donald J. Trump has authorized Donald J. Trump to sign the lease” for the apartment, Steinglass asked about the contents of the letter. The cough controller replied “yes”.

“Who signed this lease?” for the apartment, Steinglass then asked, showing the lease himself on the screen.

“That’s President Trump’s signature,” McConney replied.

The now former CFO who enjoyed that free corporate apartment — in what was once Trump Place on Riverside Boulevard — is an even more important witness to the prosecution, Allen Weisselberg, who started the company when Trump’s father ran it in 1973.

Now a “special adviser” on leave but still getting his paycheck and a lawyer on Trump’s dime, Weisselberg admitted in August that he lived in the apartment for years as part of a Trump Organization executive’s tax-free package “benefits.”

The whole thing is about these “perks” — benefits ranging from luxury cars and apartments to free electronics, carpeting, and private school tuition for Weisselberg’s son and grandchildren.

Weisselberg admitted in his guilty plea that he had earned more than $1.76 million in perks during the 15-year term of the tax avoidance scheme. Although the perks were part of his wages, he never paid income tax on them as required by law.

Weisselberg is now the cheat in defense strategy. No one named Trump took part in the tax avoidance scheme, the jury was told Monday in the defense’s opening statements. Instead, the arrangement started and ended with the CFO.

“Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg,” as Trump Organization attorney Michael van der Veen repeatedly told jurors in openings.

On Tuesday, the prosecution theory — which claims Trump, and thus the company, did it for Weisselberg at least — is bolstered by a scattering of paperwork in this already document-tight process.

At one point, the jurors spotted Trump’s black marker initials on two 2011 bills. In one, from PC Richard & Son, Trump signed $1,954.17 worth of electronics. On the other hand, he signed up for nearly $7,000 worth of carpeting from ABC Carpet and Home.

Prosecutors say both the electronics and carpeting were part of Weisselberg’s package of illegal untaxed benefits.

Eric Trump’s signature also surfaced in a 2020 document shown to jurors on Tuesday.

McConney testified that the document is an account of Eric Trump signing the annual salary for Weisselberg, including $640,000 plus a $500,000 bonus, and for McConney, who would earn $300,000 plus a $125,000 bonus.

Trump himself personally signed some of the six years’ worth of private school money checks for Weisselberg’s grandchildren, prosecutors claimed when describing even more untaxed benefits.

“Do you know that Allen Weisselberg’s grandchildren went to private school” in Manhattan, Steinglass asked McConney on Tuesday.

“Yes,” replied the inspector.

When Steinglass asked him what the name of the school is, McConney replied, “Columbia something. I don’t remember.”

“Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School?” suggested the prosecutor.

“I believe so,” McConney replied.

“Is that where Donald Trump’s son went too?” the prosecutor continued.

“I believe so,” McConney replied again.

“Who paid the tuition” for Weisselberg’s grandchildren, the prosecutor asked.

“Mr. Trump,” the inspector muttered.

“You said Mr. Trump?” the prosecutor asked.

“President Trump,” the controller replied.

“Did he sign those checks himself?” the prosecutor asked.

“I believe so, yes,” replied the inspector.

“Who decided that Donald Trump would pay Allen Weisselberg’s tuition,” the prosecutor then asked.

Here was a strategic question. Can the defense force this on Weisselberg to do it for Weisselberg? Who else but Trump himself could decide to unlock his marker and sign his own checks?

“I have no idea,” the controller replied, one of the many times he stopped involving “the boss,” as he called the former president.

Those Trump-signed tuition checks, including one totaling $89,000 from 2015, have yet to be shown to jurors.

Now that McConney is sick with COVID, he won’t be back in the stands until Monday morning at the earliest — and the trial won’t resume, and the tuition checks will remain on an evidence stick.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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