Sister Of Donald Trump Moves To Dodge Tax Evasion Investigation


In the United States, federal judges are held to high standards of conduct. The hint of a scandal such as dodging taxes when inheriting a family fortune subjects a federal judge to a formal investigation with the risk of being disbarred, or worse, arrested and thrown in jail.

Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn’t seem to hold its presidents to the same high standards.

Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, announced her retirement, which ends an investigation into the Trump family’s tax dodging uncovered by The New York Times. A retired judge is not subject to the same standards of conduct as an active one, so Barry was forced to give up her job to avoid further inquiry.

The New York Times reports that:

‘The court inquiry stemmed from complaints filed last October, after an investigation by The New York Times found that the Trumps had engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the inherited wealth of Mr. Trump and his siblings. Judge Barry not only benefited financially from most of those tax schemes, The Times found; she was also in a position to influence the actions taken by her family.’

Barry was also able to keep her taxpayer-funded salary by retiring. Since being disbarred and ousted from the courts would have ended her salary, retirement allows her to continue to be paid despite the incomplete investigation into the alleged crimes she and her siblings, which includes the current president, committed.

‘Judge Barry, now 82, has not heard cases in more than two years but was still listed as an inactive senior judge, one step short of full retirement. In a letter dated Feb. 1, a court official notified the four individuals who had filed the complaints that the investigation was “receiving the full attention” of a judicial conduct council. Ten days later, Judge Barry filed her retirement papers.’

The retirement also comes at a suspicious time. Barry was content to be an inactive judge until notification was sent to the original complainants informing them that the investigation was underway. Within less than two weeks, Barry was out.

‘The status change rendered the investigation moot, since retired judges are not subject to the conduct rules. The people who filed the complaints were notified last week that the matter had been dropped without a finding on the merits of the allegations. The decision has not yet been made public, but copies were provided to The Times by two of the complainants. Both are involved in the legal profession.’

While it is outrageous to think that the taxpayers will continue to fund a crooked judge who already amassed millions inheritance, it is even more outrageous to consider that the president has so far avoided the same fate for the exact same crime.

‘In retirement, Judge Barry is entitled to receive annually the salary she earned when she last met certain workload requirements. Though the exact figure was not immediately available, it appears to be between $184,500 and $217,600.’

Featured image via Flickr by Matt Johnson under a Creative Commons license