FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2022
An offshoot of Trump Trump Jail: We've never exactly understood the criminal trial now underway in Manhattan.
In this criminal trial, the Trump Organization is charged with crimes. But Donald J. Trump isn't charged those crimes, and neither is anyone else!
We've never exactly understood the concept of a criminal trail aimed at an organization but not at any of its principals. Nor have we seen any cable pundits breaking their backs as they try to explain how a criminal trial of that type actually works.
You can't send an organization to jail; presumably, the most you can do is fine it. That said, our blue tribe has been deeply involved in the various legal pursuits of Donald J. Trump, and very few questions have been asked about this underexplained criminal trial.
All in all, given the way our tribe loves to talk about Trump Trump Jail, this trial has been judged close enough!
That said, ugh! In a news report in today's New York Times, it sounds to us like the criminal case against the Trump Org may not be super-strong. The report begins like this:
BROMWICH ET AL (11/18/22): The criminal trial of Donald J. Trump’s family business took an emotional turn Thursday as one of the former president’s most loyal executives laid bare the machinery of a sprawling tax fraud, scoring points for both prosecution and defense during hours of illuminating testimony.
The executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, several times bolstered Manhattan prosecutors’ contention that the scheme benefited not just himself, but the Trump Organization. He testified that the off-the-books luxuries he and other executives received saved the company money in taxes.
Yet Mr. Weisselberg, 75, who started working for the Trumps decades ago, rose to become chief financial officer and is now the prosecution’s star witness, also distanced Mr. Trump and his family from the wrongdoing. He testified that they did not team up with him, nor authorize him to commit crimes. He agreed more than a dozen times that he had acted only for himself.
Oof! If we might borrow from Tears of Rage:
But oh, what kind of "prosecution's star witness" is this, who goes from bad to worse?
Weisselberg has already pleaded guilty to 17 felonies for his role in the conduct under review. But all through today's report, Bromwich et al. have Weisselberg saying that Donald J. Trump wasn't part of the scheme for which the Trump Org is now on trial.
According to Bromwich et al., Weisselberg could face as much as 15 years in prison, instead of as little as 100 days, "if the judge overseeing the case concludes that [he] lied on the stand." That said:
Throughout today's report, it sounds like Weisselberg is saying that he engaged in the conduct at question to benefit himself—and that Trump himself wasn't involved.
We've never quite understood the basic structure of this case. Plainly, Weisselberg was cheating on taxes, but he seems to be saying that others were not involved.
No one—not even Ivanka! That's how bad this whole thing sounds!