A former federal prosecutor during the Watergate proceedings that brought down President Richard Nixon says new tax revelations about President Donald Trump could ultimately send him to prison.

“No question about it,” Nick Akerman said Monday on CNN. “And his daughter could go to jail, too.”

Both the president and his oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, who also serves as a White House adviser, are named in the New York Times report detailing the schemes that allowed Donald Trump to avoid taxes for much of the past decade and a half.

“Tax evasion is a five-year felony,” said Akerman, who was an assistant special Watergate prosecutor investigated Nixon’s taxes. “It’s a pretty serious crime, and the more money that’s stolen, the longer you go to jail for.”

Trump has denied any wrongdoing. However, he has also refused to publicly disclose his tax returns, as has been customary for presidential candidates for nearly half a century.

Akerman said the Times report details “a whole series of activities that could qualify as tax fraud, not tax avoidance.”

Avoidance, he said, is merely taking advantage of the tax code in legal ways to maximize deductions. Fraud, on the other hand, involves lying about income and deductions.

He pointed specifically to consultant fees paid by Donald Trump to Ivanka Trump. Since Ivanka Trump was already an employee of the Trump Organization, Akerman said, there was “no legitimate reason” for those payments.

He speculated the two could have been shifting the money around to avoid paying taxes on it.

That, he said, could lead to an ominous development for the president should he leave office in January.

“The only thing that’s saving him at this point is the Department of Justice’s guideline that says you can’t indict a sitting president,” Akerman said. “Once he’s no longer a sitting president, he is subject to being indicted.”

He added that “any decent prosecutor” could make a “pretty viable” case:

Ex-Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman says the NYT’s report on Trump’s taxes shows that both he and his daughter, Ivanka could face legal liabilities. “The only thing saving him at this point is the Department of Justice’s guideline that says you can’t indict a sitting president.” pic.twitter.com/4YI1qDhI5g

— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) September 28, 2020

Akerman also tweeted his reaction to the Times report on Trump’s tax filings on Sunday:

The phrase "Tax Avoidance" in the NYT headline should read Trump's "Tax Evasion." Payments of sham consulting fees to Ivanka to evade income taxes is like what Trump's father did in paying bogus expenses to a phony company to evade estate taxes.

— Nick Akerman (@nickakerman) September 28, 2020

I investigated Nixon's taxes. Compared to Trump, Nixon was a rookie amateur. Despite back dating a deed to deduct a gift of papers to the government, Nixon at least paid taxes. Trump never paid any income tax for 10 years and only $750 in 2016 and 2017.

— Nick Akerman (@nickakerman) September 28, 2020 Download Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter Join HuffPost

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