In a stunning turn of events, Allen Weisselberg, the loyal and years-long chief financial officer of former President Donald Trump’s family business, pleaded guilty Thursday to 15 counts of tax fraud. But that’s not the best part: He has additionally agreed, per his plea deal, to testify at trial against the very company he’d staunchly refused to testify against.
According to a press release from the District Attorney of New York’s office, Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail, to be served on Rikers Island, and five years probation, “contingent on his [Weisselberg’s] testifying truthfully in the upcoming criminal trial of the Trump Organization by providing truthful testimony as to the facts underlying his allocution and plea.”
“Judge Juan Merchan said Weisselberg would be sentenced after the Trump Organization’s trial,” CNN reports.
Weisselberg and other Trump Organization employees were paid via “intentionally unreported or misreported” income in “order to pay less in taxes,” the District Attorney’s letter states.
RELATED STORY: Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg to plead guilty to millions in off-the-books payouts
Weisselberg, 75, who initially pleaded not guilty in 2021, was accused of taking more than $1.7 million in off-the-books payments to himself for rent, several leased Mercedes-Benzes, school tuition for his grandchildren, and more.
Allegations against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization include payouts to executives over 15 years of operations, but only Weisselberg was accused of bilking the state, city, and the federal government of unpaid and underserved taxes—to the tune of more than $900,000.
In addition to jail time, Weisselberg must also make full repayment of taxes, penalties, and interest due to the New York City and New York State tax authorities totaling $1,994,321, according to the District Attorney’s office.
Although former president and current Florida resident Donald Trump, who has called the investigation into his charitable organization’s financial dealings a “political witch hunt,” has not been charged criminally in this case, prosecutors highlight that his name was on many of the checks.
For months, prosecutors have tried to both pressure and coax Weisselberg into testifying against Trump and his company, but he has refused to meet with them.
“Today, Allen Weisselberg admitted in Court that he used his position at the Trump Organization to bilk taxpayers and enrich himself,” said Alvin Bragg, who took over the case after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. left the DA’s office.
“Instead of paying his fair share like everyone else, Weisselberg had the Trump Organization provide him with a rent-free apartment, expensive cars, private school tuition for his grandchildren and new furniture – all without paying required taxes. This plea agreement 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. Furthermore, thanks to the incredibly hard work and dedication of the team prosecuting this case, Weisselberg will spend time behind bars. We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organization.”
Last week, Trump testified before the New York Attorney General’s office. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination under oath more than 400 times.
The criminal case by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office against Trump and the Trump Organization has been long in the works but is not on a smooth path to trial.
Things began to grind to a halt, the Associated Press reports, when the grand jury was disbanded and when another top prosecutor, Mark F. Pomerantz, who had been investigating Trump, left the office after Bragg ended efforts to seek an indictment, The New York Times reports.
“The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes—he did,” Pomerantz wrote in a letter obtained by the Times.
Bragg has said he was worried about being able to prove Trump had intent when he broke the law.
Jury selection in the Trump Organization trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 24.
The full list of charges to which Weisselberg pleaded guilty is as follows:
- Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
- Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, three counts
- Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree; a class E felony, one count
- Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
- Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
- Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony four counts
- Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, four counts