Trump’s apparent confirmation of his company’s tax schemes could haunt him in court

Former US President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds on June 26, 2021 in Wellington, Ohio.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Donald Trump seemed to confirm the underlying facts of the 15-count indictment against his company.
His public remarks could give him legal headaches, according to a former prosecutor.
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, both Trump Organization executives, are also talking about the case.
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Donald Trump’s constant stream of comments about the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into his company will likely pose additional legal headaches, according to a former prosecutor.
At a rally Saturday, the former president railed against the 15-count indictment against his company and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg. He appeared to acknowledge the underlying facts prosecutors alleged: that Weisselberg cooked the books so that he could compensate himself with apartments, cars, and tuition for family members without paying taxes on those benefits.
"You didn’t pay tax on the car or a company apartment. You used an apartment because you need an apartment because you have to travel too far where your house is," Trump said in a grammatically mangled speech. "You didn’t pay tax. Or education for your grandchildren. I don’t even know. Do you have to? Does anybody know the answer to that stuff?"
Randy Zelin, a former New York state prosecutor, told Insider that Trump’s remarks could be admissible in court proceedings against the company or Trump himself.
"I’m sure the government has people whose responsibilities will include capturing every television appearance, every print appearance, every internet posting," Zelin, now a defense attorney at Wilk Auslander LLP, said. "To the extent that anything of someone who’s potentially a target of the government says something against their proprietary interests, those statements could be viewed as an admission, and they could be admissible."
Eric and Donald Trump Jr. are also talking about the caseManhattan prosecutors on Thursday announced an indictment that accused Weisselberg and the Trump Organization of a wide-ranging tax fraud scheme between 2005 and 2021 that involved not paying taxes on $1.7 million of Weisselberg’s income. Weisselberg and attorneys for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The investigation into the company remains ongoing, and legal experts expect prosecutors are considering more serious charges should they find the company manipulated property values to pay little in taxes while receiving favorable bank loan and insurance rates.

Donald Trump Jr. speaks to his father’s supporters during the Save America rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3, 2021.
REUTERS/Octavio Jones

Trump led the Trump Organization between 1971 and 2017, overlapping with the period in which the alleged criminal activity took place, and still maintains vast on-paper control of the company. Weisselberg and the ex-president’s two eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, have led the company since then.
In TV appearances, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. also appeared to confirm the underlying facts of the indictment. "These are employment perks," Eric Trump said on Fox News. In another interview with Fox News Thursday night, Donald Trump Jr. described the charges as Weisselberg avoiding taxes on "fringe benefits" and described the prosecution as politically motivated, saying the district attorney’s office should focus on violent crimes.
Before Trump was banned from Twitter, his tweets and other public statements often created headaches for lawyers defending his presidential administration’s policies against legal challenges. His support for banning Muslims from entering the United States and barring transgender people from serving in the military were cited in lawsuits against policies that were widely viewed as thinly-veiled attempts to enforce those positions.
Zelin said that, like any other defense attorney, he would recommend the Trumps don’t speak about the indictments in public.
"Any lawyer worth his or her salt has to sit down with the client, say, ‘Shut your goddamn mouth, go to the club, go do your thing. Don’t speak about this,’" Zelin said. "You don’t spit into the wind and you don’t tug on Superman’s Cape."
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