Criminal trial against Trump Organization begins as jurors are screened


NEW YORK — Jury selection for the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial began Monday morning, screening about 130 potential jurors, some of whom could serve on the panel that will decide the former president’s jury. Whether the company of the same name commits a crime.

New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan told potential jurors the case would last up to six weeks. He outlined the allegations to them and began talking to dozens of people individually in a back room, with potential panelists who alerted him of potential problems offering reasons why they might not be able to serve.

Businesses refuse to have members of the media present as individuals As part of the review process, several news organizations challenged the decision.

Potential jurors were later questioned in court. Jury selection is expected to continue on Tuesday.

Before the separate meeting, Merchan read aloud the names of potential witnesses and people who could be mentioned during the testimony — including former President Donald Trump and other executives at the company. Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. His three adult children, Eric Trump, and longtime CFO Alan Weisselberg and his family are also on the list. His family is said to have benefited from some of the benefits he received from the Trump Organization, including a car and an apartment, but none of the relatives have been charged.

Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August to 15 counts related to an alleged long-running fraud scheme within the organization, is expected to be the company’s key witness and has pledged to discuss his role as the coordinator of the Trump Organization’s tax-exempt compensation operation involving the executive. He avoided paying nearly $1 million in taxes by ignoring the benefits he received from the company as unreported compensation.

His testimony should be limited to his direct involvement, and prosecutors hope to demonstrate that the company was held liable through his actions. In the past, he has refused to cooperate with Trump on other matters that the Manhattan district attorney’s office is still investigating.

In exchange for his testimony, Weisselberg is expected to be jailed for five months. He had previously faced challenges of up to 15 years.

Prospective jurors are expected to notify the judge Monday if they have any personal conflicts based on the list of names, or if they have “legitimate bona fide grounds based solely on what you have heard about the case prior to this time” of being unable to serve. This filters out about half of the original 130.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said he was still assessing whether Trump committed a crime when he allegedly manipulated the value of assets to obtain favorable loans and interest rates, or devalued assets to reduce his tax liability. New York Attorney General Letitia James indicted Trump, his children and Weisselberg for alleged fraud related to alleged business practices.

The Trump Organization is on trial when the former president faces investigation and court action over false election fraud charges, Jan. 1. 6 The attack on the United States Capitol, and commercial and personal entanglements.

The Justice Department is evaluating whether Trump and his staff illegally hoarded classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Palm Beach after leaving the White House, and a House committee is investigating the events leading up to Jan. 1. 6 He has been called to testify.

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