In the recent NY v. Trump case, Mr. Trump was convicted of falsifying business records (34 times).

I found this article helpful in explaining the case

Once Mr. Trump or his lawyers suspected that law enforcement was looking into these transactions could they have just corrected the books? This happens frequently in accounting and normally requires disclosure. However, in this case the amount might have been insignificant to be considered a material correction.

The state could then try to prove intent to falsify records, but that would seem to be easier to defend.

  • 4
    This is a good legal question, +1, but from a practical point of view had he correctly accounted for this as an election expense at the time it would have been public knowledge that he paid $130,000 to a porn star. This may have had an influence on the election.
    – User65535
    Commented Jun 5 at 12:11
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    @Jen Why does it matter if they were processed (they were just payments to Cohen, he's presumably cashed them all)? The crime was in falsifying the purpose of them.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 5 at 16:43
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    I'm not sure that correcting your books after you're found out gets you off the hook. Imagine a business that uses falsified accounting to entice investors. Then after the investors loses all their money, they correct the books. I think the investors would have a case against the company.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 5 at 16:46

1 Answer 1



Yes, people make mistakes in accounts all the time, and they can normally just be corrected. It may result in additional taxes and late penalties (or refunds), but its not a big deal.

However, this wasn't a mistake; it was a knowing and intentional mischaracterization to conceal another crime. We know this because that's what the jury decided.

If it was changed subsequently, that would not change the intent at the time. If it was an attempt to conceal it, it would add additional charges of evidence tampering.

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