Judge scolds Trump Organization lawyers for name-dropping former president in tax fraud trial
The judge overseeing the Trump Organization trial lost his patience at the company's defense lawyers.
Justice Juan Merchan scolded the company's attorneys for repeatedly bringing up Donald Trump's name, although the former president isn't charged in the case, reported to The Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery.
"Much of the discussion during jury selection resolved around, 'we have to make sure the jury understands Donald Trump isn’t at the defense table,'" Merchan said, according to Paglery. "When we met with the jurors in the back we tried to make that clear, yet during the course of the trial, the name Donald Trump was brought up repeatedly by the defense in an attempt … to distance Mr. Trump from the defense table and these proceedings."
The judge also called out the defense for making clear Trump wasn't a party to the trial but used their closing arguments to portray him as a victim of a tax fraud scheme by accountant Jeff McConney and chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, and prosecutors readily agreed.
"They can't use this as a sword and a shield," said prosecutor Joshua Steinglass. "They can't exonerate someone who hasn't been charged. Their entire theory of the case is a fraud, based on the idea Allen Weisselberg did this on his own."
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