Examining the Indictments Related to Donald Trump in 2021

In the months after Donald Trump left the presidency in January 2021, two major indictments directly related to Trump’s business and political activities were handed down. While Trump himself was not charged, the indictments centered on key figures in Trump’s inner circle during and after his presidency.

These indictments in 2021 marked an escalation in investigations encircling Donald Trump, even after he left the White House. This article will provide an overview of the major Trump-connected indictments from 2021 and analyze their implications.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Trump Organization Indictment

In July 2021, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office unsealed an indictment charging the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg with an extensive tax fraud scheme [1].

Charges Filed

Prosecutors charged the Trump Organization and Weisselberg with:

  • Scheme to defraud
  • Conspiracy
  • Criminal tax fraud
  • Offering a false instrument for filing

Weisselberg alone was also charged with grand larceny.

Details of Alleged Scheme

Prosecutors allege Weisselberg received over $1.7 million in indirect compensation from the Trump Organization that was intentionally not reported appropriately or subjected to required taxes [2]. This included:

  • Apartment rent
  • Car leases
  • Private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren

Weisselberg alone allegedly evaded over $900,000 in federal, state, and New York City taxes related to this unreported compensation.

Significance for Trump

While Trump was not personally charged, the indictment represented prosecutors directly targeting his family company for the first time [3]. It suggests exposure for Trump if he approved benefits as part of Weisselberg’s compensation.

Steve Bannon’s Federal Fraud Indictment

In November 2021, former Trump advisor Steve Bannon was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House January 6 committee [4].

Details of the Indictment

The Justice Department charged Bannon with:

  • One count involving his refusal to appear for a deposition before the committee
  • One count for his refusal to produce documents requested by the September 23, 2021 subpoena [5]

Backstory on the Probe

The Democrat-led House committee sought information from Bannon related to the January 6 Capitol attack, but he refused to cooperate based on executive privilege claims [6].

Ties to Trump

The indictment alleges Bannon spoke with Trump at least twice in the days preceding the Capitol riots, indicating he has information relevant to the House probe [7].

Bannon also allegedly participated in discussions about delaying election certification, which Trump pressured Pence to do [8].

Implications for Trump

The indictment ramped up pressure on Trump associates defying subpoenas, increasing chances they cooperate against Trump rather than facing charges [9].


The 2021 Manhattan and federal indictments both exemplified legal troubles tightening around Donald Trump and his inner circle, even after leaving office. While Trump himself avoided indictment, the charges revealed extensive alleged misconduct within Trump’s business and political operations.

These cases sent signals to the public that Trump-world criminality would face consequences and represented warning shots for Trump and his family business. The outcome of the resulting trials will determine if Trump himself or his namesake company ultimately face direct charges. But regardless, the 2021 indictments marked an aggressive turn from prosecutors unwilling to let Trump controversies fade after his term ended.


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/01/nyregion/allen-weisselberg-indicted.html

[2] https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2021.07.01_weisselberg_indictment.pdf

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/20/nyregion/trump-organization-criminal-charges.html

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/12/us/politics/bannon-indicted.html

[5] https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/case-multi-defendant/file/1446196/download

[6] https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-mark-meadows-electoral-college-riots-presidential-elections-40b2b4020114edc9059c7cf36d9e17be

[7] https://www.npr.org/2021/11/12/1055152514/read-indictment-pdf-of-steve-bannon-chagrged-with-contempt-of-congress

[8] https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/581386-here-are-the-members-of-congress-criminally-charged-since-1980

[9] https://apnews.com/article/steve-bannon-criminal-charges-capitol-siege-9b1f6cf6f805f4702883fd26ecc169e1

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