Donald Trump Jr., former President Donald Trump’s eldest son and the Trump Organization’s Executive Vice President slammed the case against the company’s chief financial officer Thursday night.
Trump Jr. told Fox News Primetime that the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against CFO Allen Weisselberg is "political persecution of a political enemy," according to the New York Post.
"This is what Vladimir Putin does," Trump Jr said, later adding that "after … 3 million documents, countless witnesses and hours of grand jury testimony, outside forensic auditors, this is what they come up with: they’re going to charge a guy who’s 75 years old on crimes of avoiding paying taxes on a fringe benefit."
Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to charges of tax fraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records in the Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday.
Prosecutors in the case say that Weisselberg and the Trump Organization devised a 15-year scheme to compensate Trump Organization executives, including the CFO, "off the books."
They say the CFO received "indirect compensation" of more than $1.7 million, in addition to school tuition for his family, luxury cars, and rent in a Manhattan apartment. He reportedly did not pay taxes on any of it.
"The taxable portion of that [$1.7 million] to New York State is 8 percent," Trump Jr. said. “That’s $136,000 over 16 years. That’s 10 grand [actually $8,500] a year. Half of that, because my father’s a good guy, he paid for this guy’s grandchildren’s education. Our tax experts say that’s not even taxable. You can pay for someone’s education that way. So you cut it down, it comes out to … closer to five grand a year if you take out the education. And that’s what they’ve got."
The charges were brought against Weisselberg by Manhattan Disctrict Attorney Cyrus Vance, alongside New York Attorney General Letitia James, both of whom had been investigating Trump’s businesses for the last two years.
James said in a statement Thursday that her office’s investigations would go on, "and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead."
"This is a farce. It’s a disgrace that they spent millions of dollars and years, instead of prosecuting actual murderous thugs on the streets of New York, they go after their political enemies," stated Trump Jr., adding, "this is banana republic stuff, and if our press was even a little bit intellectually honest, they’d be calling it that … this is nonsense and it has to be called out as such."
"It’s a disgrace. They drop it on a Thursday night, going into 4th of July weekend, because they know it’s a disgrace," Trump Jr. concluded. "They know that the people that they’re playing to — the rich, liberal New Yorkers — they’re in the car, probably their corporate car, going out to their homes in the Hamptons right now, so they don’t see it and realize how much of an embarrassment it is. It’s a disgrace, and it needs to be called out."
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