Former CFO of Trump Organization Pleads Guilty for His Role in Tax Fraud Scheme and Agrees to Testify Against Company

Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, pleaded guilty Thursday to his role in a 15-year-long tax fraud scheme, and as part of the deal he has agreed to testify against former President Donald Trump’s real estate company at trial.

via: AP News

In a low, somewhat hoarse voice, he admitted taking in over $1.7 million worth of untaxed perks — including school tuition for his grandchildren, free rent for a Manhattan apartment and lease payments for a luxury car — and explicitly keeping some of the plums off the books.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan agreed to sentence Weisselberg to five months in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, although he will be eligible for release much earlier if he behaves well behind bars. The judge said Weisselberg will have to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest and complete five years of probation.

The plea bargain also requires Weisselberg to testify truthfully as a prosecution witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related charges. The company is accused of helping Weisselberg and other executives avoid income taxes by failing to report their full compensation accurately to the government. Trump himself is not charged in the case.

Weisselberg said nothing as he left court, offering no reply when a journalist asked whether he had any message for Trump.

Weisselberg’s lawyer Nicholas Gravante Jr. said his client pleaded guilty “to put an end to this case and the years-long legal and personal nightmares it has caused for him and his family.”

“We are glad to have this behind him,” the lawyer added.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that Weisselberg’s plea “directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation.”

“We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organization,” he added.

Testimony by Weisselberg could potentially weaken the Trump Organization’s defense. If convicted, the company could face fines or potentially be placed on probation and be forced to change certain business practices.

The company praised Weisselberg on Thursday as a trusted, honorable veteran employee who has been “persecuted and threatened by law enforcement, particularly the Manhattan district attorney, in their never-ending, politically motivated quest to get President Trump.”

In a statement, the company accused prosecutors of trying to pressure Weisselberg to cast aspersions on Trump, and of stretching to make a criminal case out of familiar executive perks such as a company car.

The company said it has done nothing wrong, won’t plead guilty and looks forward “to having our day in court.”

Weisselberg, 75, is the only person to face criminal charges so far in the Manhattan district attorney’s long-running investigation of the company’s business practices.

Seen as one of Trump’s most loyal business associates, Weisselberg was arrested in July 2021. His lawyers have argued the Democrat-led district attorney’s office was punishing him because he wouldn’t offer information that would damage Trump.

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