Trump Trashes Fraud Trial — Ongoing 'Democrat Witch Hunt' (Newsmax)
By Fran Beyer | Monday, 24 October 2022 02:31 PM EDT
Former President Donald Trump took to Truth Social to blast the criminal tax fraud trial of his New York-based company that began Monday, calling it more of “the highly partisan Democrat Witch Hunt” that’s dogged him in and out of office.
Trump ripped the state court trial, where the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is expected to take the stand.
“After viewing millions of pages of documents over many years, charges were brought against a long time Trump executive who they ‘tortured’ & threatened for years, for not paying taxes on the use of company cars, the use of a company apartment, & the education of his grandchildren,” Trump wrote.
Dismissing the trial as “the highly partisan Democrat Witch Hunt,” Trump wrote “no such ‘fringe benefits” case has ever been brought criminally(?) in the U.S., & right during the important Mid-Term Elections, of course!”
In a second post, Trump continued the sharp criticism.
“Can you imagine, the failed Manhattan District Attorney, Cy Vance (at the time), took Crooked Hillary Clinton’s lawyers, from her and the Democrats Law Firm, Paul Weiss, Rifkind…., and gently placed them into the District Attorney’s Office in order to PROSECUTE ‘TRUMP’,” he wrote.
“They have GREAT liability for doing this! It got so bad that various prosecutors quit because they thought that Donald Trump was being treated so badly and unfairly — and it continues. In the end, Justice Must Prevail!”
Weisselberg is expected to be accused of awarding "off the books" benefits to some senior executives.
The Manhattan district attorney's office last year hit Trump's namesake real estate company and Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August to helping the company defraud tax authorities for 15 years — and is expected to be a star witness along with the company’s controller Jeffrey McConney.
Susan Necheles, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said in a virtual hearing last week that challenging Weisselberg's admission that he hid information from the accountants would be part of the company's defense.
"Weisselberg will testify he believed everything he was doing was wrong," Necheles said during the video conference. "We think he's lying, and we want to show that."
The process of choosing a jury started with Justice Juan Merchan presiding over the trial in Manhattan that he said would last six weeks.
The judge told more than 100 prospective jurors about the charges, the fact that the defendants have pleaded not guilty and that proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt would be required for conviction.
The criminal case is separate from a $250 million civil lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general against Trump, three of his adult children, and his company in September, accusing them of overstating asset values and his net worth to get favorable bank loans and insurance coverage.
Trump's other legal troubles include a federal criminal investigation into the removal of government documents from the White House when he left office last year.
Reuters contributed to this report.