Prosecutor: Donald Trump knew about exec’s tax fraud scheme –


NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump “knew exactly what was going on” with top Trump Organization executives who schemed for years to dodge taxes on company-paid perks, a prosecutor said Thursday, challenging defense claims that the former president was unaware of the plot at the heart of the company’s tax fraud case.

Manhattan prosecutor Joshua Steinglass lobbed the bombshell allegation during closing arguments. He promised to share more details when he resumes Friday, buoyed by the judge’s decision to grant prosecutors permission to veer into territory that had been considered off-limits because Trump is not on trial.

The tax fraud case is the only trial to arise from the three-year investigation of Trump and his business practices by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Thursday’s closing arguments were the last chance for prosecutors and defense lawyers to sway jurors before they deliberate next week.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan, overruling a defense objection after the jury had left court, said the company’s lawyers opened the door by asserting in their closing arguments that Trump was ignorant of the scheme, hatched by his longtime finance chief just steps from his Trump Tower office .

“It was the defense who invoked the name Donald Trump numerous times,” Merchan said, setting up a potentially explosive final day of arguments before jurors deliberate next week.

Prosecutors had given mixed signals about Trump’s importance to the case, telling a judge early on, “this case is not about Donald Trump,” but then repeatedly asking witnesses about him; showing a witness copies of Trump’s tax returns and, ultimately, seeking to connect the dots to him in closing arguments.


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