Manhattan prosecutor: Trump was 'explicitly sanctioning tax fraud'
Donald Trump during CNN debate (Photo: Screen capture via video)

On Friday, Rolling Stone reported that a Manhattan prosecutor told the jury in the Trump Organization criminal case that former President Donald Trump was "explicitly sanctioning tax fraud" and directly in on the scheme to keep two sets of books, defrauding state tax agencies by undervaluing his assets.

"Joshua Steinglass made the accusation during the second day of his closing argument in the criminal tax-fraud trial against several of Trump’s companies. Steinglass referred jurors to a 2012 document autographed by the former president himself, where he approved a $72,000 salary reduction for Trump Organization chief operating officer Matthew Calamari," reported Victoria Bekiempis. "The prosecution has contended that Trump and his companies were well aware that Calamari, former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, and chief financial officer Jeffrey McConney were engaging in practices to secure untaxed income for executives vis-a-vis benefits such as gratis pads."

However, Trump himself is not on trial in the case; his companies are, and Steinglass said that ultimately, prosecutors do not need to prove the Trump family was aware of the schemes.

"Steinglass’ first day of closings went into similar territory, with him telling jurors Thursday: 'The Trump organization … cultivated a culture of fraud and deception. It’s not that the folks at the Trump Organization didn’t know what they were doing was illegal — it’s just that they didn’t care,' Steinglass also said," the report continued. "This line of argument hearkened to prosecutor Susan Hoffinger’s opening, which closely linked Trump to an alleged illegal compensation scheme that purportedly lined the pockets of Weisselberg, his longtime moneyman, and other company honchos."

Trump Organization attorneys have sought to pin the whole scheme on Weisselberg, who cooperated with prosecutors in exchange for a lesser sentence.

However, Weisselberg made a number of damning allegations on the stand, including that Trump "authorized" the tax scheme and that the company only pretended to fire Weisselberg as CFO to try to limit its legal exposure.