According to the New York prosecutors, hiding the income of executives is an established practice of the Donald Trump family business, so it has retained two sets of ledgers for this purpose: one is the public remuneration of executives to report to the tax authorities; The other records all perks paid secretly by the company.

in order to Alan WeisselbergAccording to a report, the long-term chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, these “off-the-book” allowances reached more than $1.7 million over a 15-year period. Criminal indictment It was opened in a New York court on Thursday. These include tuition fees for his grandchildren, luxury apartment rentals, two Mercedes car rentals and a flat-screen TV.

Prosecutors said that it is good for the Trump Organization to reduce its own payroll taxes, which are linked to employee compensation.

“This is not standard practice,” Kelly Dunn, a senior assistant to the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, told reporters. “This is a secret and bold illegal payment plan.”

Through a series of statements, Trump’s lawyers mocked the case as another trivial matter, borrowing the term Don, Jr. (Don, Jr.).

“Is that all they have?” Trump’s lawyer Ronald Fischetti asked. “In my 50-year career, I have never seen this office handle such a case. Frankly speaking, I was surprised.”

Although New York City is Ravaged The Trump Organization stated that Vance has spent years and millions of dollars in litigation on fringe benefits through “subway logging, gun violence, and hate crimes.” “There is no doubt-it has nothing to do with the law; it all has to do with politics.”

At the same time, on Fox News, the host and the guest took turns expressing their dissatisfaction. “Democrats have good reasons to ignore street violence,” anchor Jesse Waters said when introducing the prime time of the case. “They have been busy distorting the criminal justice system to obtain the Trump Organization.”

The question is how will the jury view the case-and what will Wesselberg do? On Thursday morning, the loyal lieutenant called himself Trump’s “eyes and ears”, and after entering the court through the back door, he pleaded not guilty.

With the threat of imprisonment looming, Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James hope that the double ledgers and other evidence they uncovered will convince the Trump Organization’s 48-year veteran – a father hired by Trump. Fred-broke with the former president and assisted in their investigation.

“I don’t understand how you can’t take this seriously,” said Daniel Horvitz, a former prosecutor in Vance’s office, who now leads the white-collar legal business of McLaughlin and Stern. “This is not the case of car tax owed for one or two years. According to the indictment, this is a plan that has lasted for more than ten years.”

In light of these allegations, Horwitz predicts that reputable companies will be reluctant to deal with the Trump Organization.

Daniel Hemel, a law professor at the University of Chicago who specializes in tax issues, also saw the importance of the Vance case. “In fact, the Trump Organization is maintaining two separate sets of accounts-which are very close to a smoking gun,” he said, comparing the case to the notorious “deceased” Leona HelmsleyKing of the Mean“.

In 1989, the then American lawyer Rudolph Giuliani accused Helmsley of charging her husband’s real estate company millions of dollars in house renovation costs to avoid taxes. Helmsley was then in prison. Spent 19 months.

“It’s almost like a playbook about tax fraud in different ways,” said Adam Kaufman, another veteran in the Vance office now in private practice, of the behavior described in the indictment.

Like others, he noticed that Weisselberg was alleged to be the planner and beneficiary of the plan, and believed that his title as chief financial officer was difficult to justify on the grounds of ignorance of tax and accounting matters.

Another lawyer agreed and said in disbelief: “Buying a company car is one thing, but what about the tuition fees of private schools?”

Nevertheless, some experienced defense lawyers who refused to speak publicly were overwhelmed by the highly anticipated allegations. “I realize that fringe benefits add up to more than 15 years, but this is only part of the structure of the United States,” one of them said, and concluded: “If this is an attempt to overthrow Wesselberg – and they can’t help but overthrow him. Under the circumstances of creating a minor case-this is a big problem.”

Another lawyer believes that such cases can usually be resolved without criminal charges. They worry that if Wesselberg finally accepts trial, there will be an atmosphere like a zoo, and Trump will use this opportunity to incite his supporters. “You are going to give him a bully forum-why?”

One of the most controversial elements in the indictment is the charge of gross theft. Prosecutors argued that Weisselberg’s alleged fraud not only allowed him to avoid paying taxes, but he was also able to apply for more than $94,000 in federal tax refunds over the years, and the money was not owed. In essence, they called it a form of theft of property, which aggravated the potential sentence he might face. But some lawyers think this is an extension and predict that this accusation will eventually be dismissed by the judge.

Even so, according to defense attorney Mark Zauderer, this still leaves other vivid elements of the indictment that may resonate with jurors. For example, in addition to double ledgers, prosecutors also accused Wesselberg and his wife of claiming that they are not residents of New York City in order to avoid local taxes. They have always been the only occupants of Trump’s apartment on Riverside Avenue.

“It is easy to ignore the fact that these are serious allegations and will be subject to heavy penalties, and the supporting facts referred to in the indictment are easy for jurors to understand,” Zodler said. “And they are likely to generate resentment in the hearts of jurors who have not benefited from the tax plan charged by the district attorney and grand jury.”

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