Trump's Finance Chief Expected to Plead Guilty

Allen Weisselberg said to be negotiating plea deal in tax evasion case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2022 12:30 AM CDT
Trump Org. CFO Expected to Plead Guilty
Law enforcement personnel escort the Trump Organization's former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, center, as he departs court, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, in New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(Newser) – Former President Trump’s longtime finance chief is expected to plead guilty as soon as Thursday in a tax evasion case that is the only criminal prosecution to arise from a long-running investigation into the former president’s company, three people familiar with the matter told the AP. Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was scheduled to be tried in October on allegations he took more than $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation from the company, including rent, car payments, and school tuition. Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney's office and Weisselberg's lawyers met Monday with the judge overseeing the case, Juan Manuel Merchan, according to court records. The judge then scheduled a hearing in the matter for 9am Thursday but did not specify the reason.

The AP's sources said the purpose of Thursday’s hearing was for Weisselberg to enter a guilty plea, but cautioned that plea deals sometimes fall apart before they are finalized in court. Weisselberg’s lawyer, Nicholas Gravante Jr., told the New York Times on Monday that Weisselberg has been engaged in plea negotiations to resolve the case, but did not specify terms of a potential plea deal. Reached by the AP, Gravante declined to comment. The Times, citing two people with knowledge of the matter, said Weisselberg was expected to receive a five-month jail sentence, which would make him eligible for release after about 100 days. The deal would not require Weisselberg to testify or cooperate in any way with an ongoing criminal investigation into Trump's business practices.

Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, is also charged in the case but did not appear to be involved in the plea agreement talks. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty. News of Weisselberg’s plea negotiations came days after the judge denied requests by his lawyers and the Trump Organization to throw out the case. The judge did drop one criminal tax fraud count against the company citing the statute of limitations, but more than a dozen other counts remain. Prosecutors alleged that Weisselberg and the Trump Organization schemed to give off-the-books compensation to senior executives, including Weisselberg, for 15 years. Weisselberg alone was accused of defrauding the federal government, state, and city out of more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and undeserved tax refunds.

(Read more Allen Weisselberg stories.)

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