Fraud trial could drive a wedge between 'blacklisted' Trump and the Secret Service: legal expert
Donald Trump (Photo via AFP)

In an interview with Business Insider, Professor Steven L. Schooner of George Washington University Law School, claimed that a fraud conviction in the Trump Organization trial that will start jury selection on Monday could complicate Donald Trump's ability to be protected by the Secret Service.

The trial that kicks off in Manhattan this week is over "alleged tax crimes — the result of a lengthy investigation into the company and its executives related to fraud and other potentially illegal business practices," reports the Washington Post which adds, "Prosecutors say the case focuses on what they describe as a 15-year tax cheating scheme involving untaxed benefits like luxury cars and expensive apartments for company executives including Weisselberg, who has been painted as the linchpin to the tax avoidance operation. [Allen] Weisselberg began his employment at the Trump Organization in 1973."

As Schooner, long a critic of Trump and his dealings while president, explained, there is a provision in federal law that would bar Trump from federal contracts if a fraud conviction is upheld.

As Business Insider is reporting, "Trump is hardly the ideal government contractor as it is, watchdogs say, after his many brushes with fraud allegations and given federal regulations requiring 'an impeccable standard of conduct.' Those regulations also recommend 'debarment,' or blacklisting, of any company convicted of such business-related crimes as 'forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements [and] tax evasion.'"

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The report adds that recent revelations that Trump has been charging "exorbitant" rates for Secret Service agents to stay at his properties -- in some cases five times the normal going rate -- could set off a chain reaction after a fraud conviction.

"The recent Secret Service billing revelations and the trial starting in Manhattan have upped the ante for those calling for an end to Trump's government contracts," the report states with Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington explaining, "If there's a criminal conviction, it's hard to imagine how the federal government could at that point not debar them."

The report adds that the Secret Service protection could be up in the air at that point.

"Under federal acquisition regulations, an agency can continue to use a blacklisted company by saying they have 'compelling reasons justifying continued business dealings between that agency and the contractor," Business Insider's Laura Italiano and David Levinthal wrote. "In the case of the Secret Service, that compelling reason would be the difficulty in protecting Trump and his family without staying at whichever of his resorts he's currently living at — including his winter favorite, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, and his summer favorite, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey."

The report added, "Still, blacklisting Trump could tamp down on such extravagances as that $179,000 golf cart rental contract. And it would prevent future self-dealing in other types of contracts."

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