Trump told a crowd in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday night that “every company” does “fringe benefits,” but he mocked prosecutors for pursuing the charges, saying it is “reminiscent of a communist dictatorship targeting your political opponents.” The comments mark the former President’s most substantial yet on the charges after they were unsealed last week in the first criminal case against his namesake company.
“Never before has New York City and their prosecutors or perhaps any prosecutors criminally charged a company or a person for fringe benefits,” Trump said. “Fringe benefits. Murders, OK; human trafficking, no problem. But fringe benefits, you can’t do that.”
Trump didn’t dispute prosecutors’ allegations that Weisselberg received off-the-books compensation during his rally Saturday night. He mentioned Weisselberg’s car lease, apartment and tuition payments for his grandchildren.
“They go after good hard-working people for not paying taxes on a company car. Company car. You didn’t pay tax on the car, or a company apartment, you used an apartment because you need an apartment, because you have to travel too far where your house is, didn’t pay tax, or education for your grandchildren,” Trump said. “I don’t even know. Do you have to, does anybody know the answer to that stuff? OK? But they indict people for that.”
“But they indict people for that. But for murder, and for selling massive amounts of the worst drugs in the world that kill people left and right, that’s OK. Think of it, think of how unfair it is,” he said.