Prosecutors in the Trump Organization tax fraud trial have said in their closing arguments on Friday that the former President was not only aware but he also sanctioned the 15-year scheme which allowed top company executives to be compensated off the books and save large amounts in income taxes.
Throughout the week long trial, the prosecutors mainly placed their focus on how the top executives acted within the Trump organization but did not speak about Donald Trump until the last few days of the trial. Trump is not on trial in this case for any wrongdoings.
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass told jurors in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday that the documentation available makes it clear that Trump sanctioned the moves that allowed top executives to avoid income taxes. He added that it was the narrative painted by the other side that Trump was unaware is simply not true.
The attorneys on the defense side objected to the move made by prosecutors to bring Trump into the case during the late part of the trial. Prosecutors however kept to their point and began their closing arguments by speaking about Trump.
Michael van der Veen, who represents the Trump Payroll Corporation has asked the judge for a mistrial as Donald Trump is not the person who is currently on trial and still the prosecution is looking to turn him into a co-conspirator.
Van der Veen added that bringing Trump into the case is improper and will lead to a more biased jury. In response, Steinglass noted that he had previously “religiously avoided politics.”
Steinglass further argued that in this case Trump is simply mentioned because the trial concerns the company that he is the CEO of. He added that had his name been “John Doe” there would have been no objections to the name being mentioned.
Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan has denied the defense’s request for a mistrial.