Donald Trump Jr. blasts Weisselberg indictment as ‘banana republic stuff’

Trump Organization Executive Vice President Donald Trump Jr. blasted the Manhattan DA’s office Thursday night for bringing tax fraud and other charges against the company’s longtime chief financial officer, calling the case “political persecution of a political enemy.”

“This is what Vladimir Putin does,” the eldest son of former President Donald Trump told “Fox News Primetime,” 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.”

Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court to charges of tax fraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records. Prosecutors say Weisselberg and the company concocted a 15-year scheme to compensate the CFO and other Trump Organization executives “off the books.”

Donald Trump Jr.,
Donald Trump Jr. called the case “political persecution of a political enemy.”
Alex Wong/Getty Images

In Weisselberg’s case, prosecutors say, he received “indirect compensation” of more than $1.7 million, as well as free rent at a Manhattan apartment, luxury cars and private school tuition for his family members — without paying 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 against Weisselberg are the first brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who has been investigating Trump’s business empire for two years along with New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Letitia James, New York's attorney general (R) and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (L) leave after attending the hearing for the criminal case against former US President Donald Trumps company chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg in lower Manhattan New York on July 1, 2021.
New York AG Letitia James and Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance Jr. leave after the hearing for the criminal case against the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg on July 1, 2021.
KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

In a statement Thursday, James vowed that her office’s investigation 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,” raged 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.”

The former president’s son also shrugged off the possibility that Weisselberg would lift the lid on supposed wrongdoings by Trump, telling host Jesse Watters that “there has to be something to flip on.”

Allen Weisselberg, center, departs Manhattan criminal court, Thursday, July 1, 2021, in New York.
Allen Weisselberg departs Manhattan criminal court on July 1, 2021.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

“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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