Former President Donald Trump’s company was found guilty of 17 counts on Tuesday in a case, brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, related to the organization’s shady financial dealings.
The counts, which involve tax fraud, a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, and falsifying business records, will matter little to the company financially, as they carry a maximum penalty of only $1.62 million. But reputationally, it matters much more, as the Trump Organization has been found guilty of felony criminal acts, implying corruption at the highest levels. While the case never targeted Trump himself, the prosecution did claim at trial that Trump was “explicitly sanctioning tax fraud,” as the New York Times noted.
According to the Times, the case, which was held before the State Supreme Court in Manhattan—confusingly, in New York, the Supreme Court is the trial court; the highest court is instead the Court of Appeals—examined perks that included “fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives.” The case hinged on legally complex discussions over culpability, but ultimately, jurors found that the company, which also benefited financially from the scheme, was responsible.
This case against the Trump Organization is separate from several other major investigations into Trump’s dealings. Those include investigations into his mishandling of classified documents and subsequent obstruction; his actions on Jan. 6; his potential interference into the 2020 presidential election in Georgia; and allegations that the Trump family lied about its organization’s finances, which could amount to fraud.
According to the Washington Post, the case decided on Tuesday dealt with the work of two high-up Trump executives, one of whom pleaded guilty to 15 counts related to tax fraud, conspiracy, and grand larceny back in August. That employee, Allen Weisselberg, testified that he and the other employee, Trump Organization comptroller Jeffrey McConney, had used the company to cover extravagant personal expenses for 15 years, in an effort to get around tax laws. McConney was granted immunity for his testimony.
“This was a case about greed and cheating,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”
The organization won’t be sentenced until January, but according to CNN, “a felony conviction could impact its ability to do business or obtain loans or contracts.” According to NBC News, attorneys for the company, who have maintained that the crimes were the sole work of Weisselberg and should not implicate the Trump Organization, plan to appeal the ruling.
Trump, in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, made the same argument but added some typically florid political commentary: “MANHATTAN WITCH HUNT!” he wrote. “Disappointed with the verdict in Manhattan, but will appeal. …It is a continuation of the Greatest Political Witch Hunt in the History of our Country. New York City is a hard place to be ‘Trump,’ as businesses and people flee our once Great City!”