NEW YORK — Jurors in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial resumed deliberations on Tuesday.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s real estate company is accused scheming to defraud tax authorities by paying executives’ personal expenses without reporting the income and paying bonuses to executives as if they were independent contractors.
Trump himself was not charged in the case, which is taking place in New York state court in Manhattan.
The Trump Organization has pleaded not guilty and has said its former longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, carried out the scheme to benefit himself.
Before jurors began deliberations on Monday, Justice Juan Merchan instructed them that the law holds companies responsible for criminal actions taken by their executives so long as those acts were not done solely for the executives’ personal benefit.
On Tuesday morning, the jury sent Merchan a note requesting that he re-read his instructions about three counts the Trump Organization faces for falsifying business records.
On Monday, they asked him to reiterate his instructions on a conspiracy count.
Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty
in August as part of an agreement with prosecutors that calls for him to be sentenced to five months in jail. He was the government’s star witness at the trial, which began with jury selection on Oct. 24.
Trump, a Republican, has called the case politically motivated. Both current Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the DA who brought the charges in 2021, Cyrus Vance, are Democrats.
The case is separate from a civil lawsuit brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James against Trump, his adult children, the Trump Organization and others for allegedly inflating asset valuations to mislead lenders and tax authorities. Trump and the company have denied the accusations.
Trump, who last month said he will seek the presidency again in 2024, faces other legal woes.
These include Department of Justice investigations into his removal of government documents from the White House and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which he lost to Democratic President Joe Biden.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)