On Monday, jury selection for the Trump Organization tax fraud trial, which will feature top executive Allen Weisselberg likely serving as the central witness, will begin with the future of the company hanging in the balance, reports Bloomberg.
As the report notes, Weisselberg -- who was responsible for the company's finances during the period being examined -- accepted a guilty plea in an effort to stay out of prison for an extended time, but is expected to spill the beans on how the company operated, with a focus on perks provided to top executives provided in such a way as to avoid federal taxes at the behest of Donald Trump.
As Bloomberg's Greg Farrell wrote, "Trump is not on trial in the case, brought by the Manhattan district attorney's office, and if the company is found guilty, it would have to pay back taxes and fines totaling about $1.6 million. A conviction of Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp., the two entities charged, wouldn't put the parent company out of business. But it will be the first trial involving the firm since Trump left office."
According to former U.S attorney Barbara McQuade, "The world is about to see just how the Trump Organization ran its business."
She added, "This is a significant case. The criminal charges are against Trump's corporation, which is a small private company, but Donald Trump is the Trump Organization."
Noting that Trump is already involved in a $250 million real estate fraud case filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, Farrell added that, in this case, "Weisselberg, 75, agreed this summer to plead guilty to 15 charges in exchange for a maximum jail term of five months. He is required to testify truthfully, or the deal is off and he could face years in prison."
Suggesting that prosecutors working for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will likely ask whether Trump's children, Don Trump Jr., Eric and Ivanka also benefited, Farell asked some outside experts how it might impact the company long-term.
According to attorney Daniel Horwitz, "A conviction in a criminal case is serious."
He then added, "Is it definitive that a company convicted of a crime will be shunned by lenders and creditors? Not necessarily. Is it a good thing if the Trump Organization is convicted of cheating the government of millions of dollars in taxes over the years? No, it's not good."
The Bloomberg report added, "In any case, the trial will offer a rare view inside the company, whose holdings include marquee New York skyscrapers, Trump-branded golf courses and Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort where federal agents this summer seized thousands of documents taken from the White House, some of which were marked classified."