Criminal Tax Evasion Complaint Filed as Trump Returns to Court

by Jessica

As Donald Trump heads back to a Manhattan courtroom where he is facing 34 felony counts related to allegedly paying off an adult film star before the 2016 presidential election, a new possible criminal investigation into income tax evasion is rearing its head.

At the center of the criminal complaint filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) by watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a mysterious $50 million loan that has been listed by the former president in his disclosures to the court that may or may not exist.

In late January, the Daily Beast reported on a “bombshell” report from retired judge Barbara Jones who was assigned to monitor Trump and the Trump Organization’s finances by Judge Arthur Engoron during the financial fraud trial that ended with a $355 million fine.

At that time, Jones wrote she was baffled by information being handed over to her, telling the court, “In recent discussions with the Trump Organization, it indicated that it has determined that this loan never existed—and thus that it would be removed from any upcoming forms submitted to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) and would also be removed from subsequent versions of [corporate financial statements].”

Questions about the loan have never been answered, which now has led CREW to ask the DOJ to have the FBI step in.

According to the latest reporting from the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, CREW’s filing asks for an investigation into whether Trump had repeatedly lied “knowingly and willfully” nine times in his own filings to the government.

As Sollenberger explained, “While CREW’s complaint doesn’t directly allege tax evasion, it does say that Trump’s alleged lies about this loan could constitute a ‘material false statement’ that, among other things, would prevent officials from assessing whether Trump was ‘in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.'”

In a statement, CREW’s Noah Bookbinder elaborated, “The FBI and the Department of Justice should investigate and, if the facts support it, act to ensure accountability for this lawlessness. Donald Trump’s habit of lying and placing himself above the law has no place in a republic governed by the rule of law.”

The Beast report adds, “Additionally, the complaint notes, Trump’s own statements about the debt ‘seemed to discount the loan’s legitimacy,’ citing his 2016 claims to The New York Times that ‘we don’t assess any value to [the loan] because we don’t care.'”

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