Trump Org. trial off until Thursday after witness gets COVID
NEW YORK (AP) — A criminal trial involving tax fraud charges against Donald Trump’s company won’t resume until late next week at the earliest as a key witness continues to recover from COVID-19.
Court spokesperson Lucian Chalfen said the trial, in state court in Manhattan, is slated to resume on Thursday — not Monday, as the judge had previously hoped.
The Trump Organization trial was abruptly halted Tuesday when longtime company senior vice president and controller Jeffrey McConney tested positive for the virus.
McConney was on the witness stand for the first two days of testimony, Monday and Tuesday. He coughed off and on as he walked prosecutors through the company’s bookkeeping and payroll practices.
By Tuesday’s lunch break, McConney’s symptoms had worsened, prompting him to take a COVID test. Chalfen said he was not aware of anyone else involved in the case testing positive.
If the trial resumes Thursday, it will be the only day the case is in court next week.
Court is closed Tuesday for Election Day and Friday for Veterans Day. The judge, Juan Manuel Merchan, previously said he would not hold the trial on Wednesdays.
Merchan has said he expected the trial to take at least four weeks. The prolonged delay could push it into mid-December or beyond.
The Trump Organization is accused of helping some of its top executives avoid income taxes on lavish company-paid perks, including a Manhattan apartment and luxury cars.
McConney was granted immunity to testify last year before a grand jury and again to testify at the criminal trial.
Before Tuesday’s adjournment, McConney told jurors he altered company pay records to reduce one executive’s income tax bill and recounted how the company changed its pay practices and financial arrangements once Trump was elected president in 2016.