New York criminal fraud trial against Trump Organization begins jury selection
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New York criminal fraud trial against Trump Organization begins jury selection

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office criminal fraud case against the Trump Organization Monday began jury selection in a New York court. The Trump Organization is charged with scheming to defraud federal, state and local authorities to avoid taxes from 2005 through 2021.

Jury selection began Monday in a courtroom at the Supreme Court of New York. After the first day of jury selection, 70 jurors of the prospective 130 called were dismissed by either party. According to a reporter on the scene, at least one juror was dismissed for potential bias against former President Donald Trump. Trump, himself, is not on trial. The parties will choose from 60 remaining potential jurors when selection continues.

A New York grand jury indicted the Trump Organization and its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg with scheming to defraud charges back in January 2021. The investigation into the Trump Organization’s taxes first began in 2018 when then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. launched a criminal investigation into claims that Trump used funds from his private charity to pay off women he had extramarital affairs with. The investigation expanded in 2020 to include other potential criminal acts committed by Trump and his organization. This investigation is separate from the civil investigation led by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office.

Weisselberg is expected to serve as the prosecution’s key witness as the trial gets underway in the coming weeks. In August, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 charges of defrauding New York state and local authorities. Weisselberg admitted that he engaged in the scheme to defraud tax authorities in conjunction with the Trump Organization. According to Weisselberg, Trump Organization employees were compensated in non-traditional ways so that their salaries went unreported to tax authorities. The court agreed to a plea deal with Weisselberg, so long as he testified against the Trump Organization in the trial now before the Supreme Court of New York.

If convicted, the Trump Organization faces a potential fine of over 1 million dollars. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has said its criminal investigation into other potential charges is ongoing.