Day 686: "A culture of fraud and deception."
1/ The Trump organization was found guilty on all 17 counts of criminal tax fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records, and other financial crimes. The verdict is the culmination of a three-year investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and the two entities – the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corp. – face a total of more than $1.6 million in fines. The case was built around testimony from the Trump Organization’s former finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August to 15 counts including tax fraud, conspiracy and grand larceny. In his testimony, Weisselberg detailed how he and the company’s comptroller, Jeffrey McConney, cheated state and federal tax authorities over a 15-year period by paying executives with “off the books” compensation, such as apartments and luxury cars. Prosecutors described the Trump Organization as a “culture of fraud and deception,” saying Trump sanctioned the tax-free benefits and personally signed some checks for private-school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren. Trump, however, wasn’t charged. Trump and his children and his company also face a civil suit filed by the New York attorney general accusing them of “staggering” fraud. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Bloomberg / Axios)
2/ The Jan. 6 committee will make criminal referrals to the Justice Department. Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters that the committee has “made decisions on criminal referrals,” but did not disclose how many or who the targets will be, or whether Trump will be among them. “At this point, there’ll be a separate document coming from me to DOJ,” Thompson said. When asked whether the committee believes any witnesses had perjured themselves, Thompson replied: “That’s part of the discussion.” The Justice Department has been pursuing its own criminal investigation and could act regardless of what referrals the panel makes. (CNN / New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)
3/ The Justice Department sent grand jury subpoenas to officials in Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin for all communications with Trump, his campaign, and his aides and allies. The requests are the first known subpoenas issued by special counsel Jack Smith, who Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped to oversee the Jan. 6 Capitol attack case and the criminal probe of Trump’s mishandling of classified documents. The three states were central to Trump’s failed plan to stay in power following the 2020 election. (Washington Post / Politico)
4/ Trump’s political action committee is paying the legal bills for key witnesses in the Justice Department’s investigation into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left office. Trump’s Save America PAC has paid Brand Woodward Law more than $120,000 to represent Kash Patel, who has testified in front of the grand jury, as well as Walt Nauta, a Trump valet who told FBI agents that Trump had instructed him to move boxes at Mar-a-Lago. Brand Woodward also represents Trump’s longtime adviser Dan Scavino and at least one other personal aide who has testified in front of the grand jury. (Washington Post)
5/ Trump failed to disclose a $19.8 million loan from a foreign creditor while running for president in 2016. Documents obtained by the New York attorney general’s office show that Trump had a previously unreported liability to South Korean company Daewoo when he took office in January 2017. Daewoo was the only South Korean company allowed to operate in North Korea during the 1990s. The loan was reported on the Trump Organization’s internal documents. The non-disclosure is not necessarily illegal because government disclosure laws require presidential candidates and presidents to list personal debts. The debt, however, still could have posed a conflict of interest given Trump’s frequent boasting about his close relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un while president. (Forbes / The Guardian / The Independent)
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