Former President Donald Trump.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Prosecutors’ 1st witness in the Trump Organization tax fraud trial has tested positive for COVID-19.
The trial was adjourned to Monday after Jeffrey McConney, the company’s controller, fell ill.
McConney had coughed throughout his testimony Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
The Trump Organization tax-fraud trial has been halted for at least the rest of the week after the prosecution’s first witness tested positive for COVID-19 during the lunch break on Tuesday.
Jeffrey McConney, the longtime controller for Trump’s namesake business, tested positive for the virus after coughing throughout his time on the witness stand on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning in New York Supreme Court in lower Manhattan.
“It comes and goes,” McConney, the trial’s very first witness, apologized repeatedly as he sat unmasked in the witness stand and coughed throughout two days of testimony.
But during Tuesday’s lunch, McConney began feeling poorly, Joshua Steinglass, one of the lead prosecutors, revealed in court after the break, before jurors were ushered back in for the bad news.
A rapid COVID-19 test that was provided for him by prosecutors came back positive.
Patricia Pileggi — a personal lawyer for McConney who is being paid for by the Trump Organization — asked state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan not to reveal to jurors who it was who’d been infected.
“Though it will not take rocket science to figure out who it was,” she admitted before sitting back down and quickly putting on a mask.
“He’s not feeling too good,” Pileggi told Insider.
The jury in the high-profile trial was brought into the courtroom and told by the judge that “someone in the well” had tested positive.
The judge told them that they could get themselves tested if they wished, and to plan on coming back Monday morning at 9:30 a.m.
Then they were dismissed. Only about half of them were wearing masks.
Under court rules, McConney — who revealed on the witness stand that he’s still being paid $450,000 a year by the Trump Organization — will be allowed back in the courtroom on Monday if he feels better.
Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization ran a 15-year scheme to trick tax authorites by giving top executives significant compensation in the form of untaxed “perks” like luxury cars and rent-free Trump-branded apartments.
The company, which is facing multiple counts of conspiracy, scheme to defraud, falsifying business records, and criminal tax fraud, has pleaded not guilty through its attorneys.
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