Défense Plea, Honoré Daumier
‘Defense Plea’ by Honoré Daumier. Photo credit: © Album via ZUMA Press

A fascinating detail reveals so much about Trump — but hardly anyone has paid attention to this damning evidence of fraud.

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One thing the jury in Donald Trump’s trial would find extraordinarily implicating — if they heard about it, which they won’t — is another case of accounting fraud, one that is quite literally graphic.

It dates back four decades. 

Back in 1984, Trump, as is his wont, was somehow managing to pay no taxes, yet was still reporting large deductions for business expenses — while reporting no income. 

New York state and city authorities weren’t having his “no income” declaration. They challenged him, and he ended up in court presenting his explanation for why he didn’t owe any money. (The judge ruled against him.)

In the course of this case — as originally reported years ago by my old friend David Cay Johnston, but since lost to the public attention — something shocking was revealed. 

When Trump’s own longtime tax preparer and only witness, Jack Mitnick, was shown Trump’s tax return, he said that he was unfamiliar with it — and that he and his firm had not prepared it. 

But how is that possible? Mitnick was asked. His own signature was on there. Mitnick had no answer. 

Johnston, the reporter, did have an idea of how it happened, and it wasn’t done with a Sharpie. 

He said it seemed as if Trump had somehow transferred a facsimile of Mitnick’s signature onto the tax-return form, possibly by using a photocopy machine. 

One way this could have been accomplished, as I understand it: First, snip the signature out of one signed document. Artfully paste or tape it (using transparent tape) into another document where the signature would go. Then Xerox that document. The Xeroxed copy of the doctored page would show no irregularities.

The original of the document in question — which would presumably contain the pasted signature and so reveal the scam — has never been found, as noted by the judge in 1984. 

If the former president was once exposed as contriving to counterfeit his own accountant’s signature on an official tax return, how can anyone believe anything he has to say about the Stormy Daniels payoff subterfuge — or anything else? 

Which raises the question: Why is this matter not being addressed by the media? 

We all know that a number of voters are, amazingly, still undecided. A lot of the “evidence” has seemed too oblique for their tastes. But maybe, this one is something everyone can get? 

Even the least discerning person would surely see what is so conspicuously wrong with affixing another person’s signature to an official document — without their knowledge or permission — to “approve” something they never even saw. 

And even such a “low-information” voter should be able to understand why, therefore, Donald Trump — and his ever-present Sharpie — should not be permitted anywhere near the White House ever again.

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  • Russ Baker

    Russ Baker is Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who specializes in exploring power dynamics behind major events.

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