President Donald Trump’s older sister Maryanne Trump Barry retired as a federal judge just 10 days after a judicial panel opened a formal investigation into whether she was part of a Trump family scheme to commit tax fraud on a massive scale.
Barry, 82, was a federal appellate judge in the third district, which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The investigation could have led to her impeachment as a judge. By leaving active status she salvaged her 6-figure pension in retirement.
A court official on Feb. 1 notified four citizens who filed complaints against Barry that the investigation into the judge was ‘receiving the full attention’ of a judicial conduct council. Ten days after the letter was sent, Barry formally filed her retirement notice.
The probe followed a New York Times investigation into the possibility that the Trumps engaged in a tax evasion scheme.
Maryanne Trump Barry (right) was a senior inactive judge, which is the step taken usually before full retirement, and had not heard a case in over two years. But she changed her status to ‘retired’ just 10 days after a formal disciplinary investigation was opened into her
A New York Times investigation last year determined that President Trump’s father Fred (left) transferred ownership of most of his real estate empire to his four living children before he died in the late 1990s
The late Fred Trump Sr. (center) is pictured decades ago with his children (seated, L-R) Robert Trump, Elizabeth Trump, Fred Trump Jr., Donald Trump and Maryanne Trump
One of the complaints came from Scott Shuchart, a lawyer and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive advocacy organization founded by former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Shuchart claimed the Times investigation revealed the Trump family committed fraud by evading taxes when the president’s late father Fred Trump left a billion-dollar real estate inheritance to his four living children.
The Times pored over 100,000 pages of financial documents, including confidential tax returns from Fred Trump and his companies, and concluded that the value of the bequeathed properties was vastly understated when they were reported as $41.4 million.
The paper concluded that the properties were later sold over the next decade for over 16 times that amount.
The Times reported Trump’s parents transferred over $1 billion to their children. It said that the transfer should have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million, but that the children paid only about $52.2 million.
Barry’s retirement ended the investigation immediately because retired judges are no longer subject to judicial conduct rules. She did not give any reason for her retirement or make any public announcement.
Her formal retirement was revealed in an April 1 order signed by a senior court official in New York, where her case was assigned to avoid conflicts of interest with other judges who know her in the third district.
Barry had not presided over a case in more than two years – since a month after her younger brother’s presidential inauguration – but was still listed as an inactive senior judge in the third district. That’s usually the step taken before full retirement.
She changed her status to retired just 10 days after the formal disciplinary investigation was opened into her.
Scott Shuchart made one of the complaints against Barry and claims that the Trump family committed fraud. Schuchart is a senior fellow at the progressive advocacy group Center for American Progress
Instead of facing possible impeachment, by retiring Barry is able to collect the same salary she was earning at the last point she met a certain workload requirement – somewhere between $184,500 and $217,600 annually
Judicial misconduct findings can result in the censure or reprimand of federal judges. In some extreme cases, judges can be referred to the House of Representatives for impeachment.
It appears Barry will receive somewhere between $184,500 and $217,600 annually, the same salary she earned when she last met certain workload requirements before changing her status to inactive.
The Times investigation into the Trumps uncovered how Fred Trump transferred his real estate empire profits and ownership to his four children, including the president, Barry, brother Robert Trump, and their sister Elizabeth Trump Grau.
‘The New York Times’s allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 per cent false, and highly defamatory,’ a lawyer for Trump, Charles Hardner, said last October.
Shuchart told the Associated Press that he was ‘absolutely disappointed’ that Barry was able to avoid further scrutiny by retiring.
‘If the Times story is correct, then she participated in a decades-long multimillion-dollar tax fraud. That should be an impeachable offense. She gets her full salary,’ he said.
‘I think it’s appalling that we’re continuing to pay this criminal and that she now has completely avoided consequence,’Shuchart added. ‘It’s ridiculous.’
President Bill Clinton elevated Barry to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1999. She notified the court shortly after Trump’s inauguration, in February 2017, that she would stop hearing cases.