The former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization pleaded guilty today to fraud and tax evasion and is expected to testify as a prosecution witness in the trial against Donald Trump’s company, with whom he worked for nearly half a century.
Allen Weiselberg, 75, pleaded guilty to all 15 charges he faced in Manhattan court. Although he will testify about the company’s business practices under his plea deal, he is not expected to cooperate with Manhattan prosecutors in their broader investigation into the Trump family.
According to the release, Weiselberg pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion of $1.76 million in undeclared income between 2005-2021. Among other things, he allegedly hid real estate and car rentals, school fees and vacation expenses. “Today Allen Weiselberg admitted in court that he took advantage of his position at the Trump Organization to defraud taxpayers and enrich himself,” said U.S. Attorney Alvin Bragg.
His agreement with the authorities stipulates that he will serve only 5 months in prison and will have to pay back to the state about 2 million dollars (taxes, interest and fines). If he went to trial and was found guilty, he could have been sentenced to 15 years.
Weiselberg stepped down as the company’s chief financial officer after being prosecuted, but remains on Trump’s payroll as an adviser.
Until today, Weiselberg has steadfastly refused to testify against Trump himself. The criminal trial against the company will begin on October 24. Another investigation, this time civil but into the same allegations of fraud and tax evasion, is being conducted by New York State Attorney General Leticia James. Donald Trump was called to testify under oath last week in that investigation, but he refused to answer questions citing the 5th amendment to the Constitution, which allows witnesses to not make statements that could incriminate them.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization called Weiselberg an “honest man” who was “harassed, harassed and threatened by law enforcement agencies, particularly the Manhattan District Attorney, in their never-ending, politically motivated investigation into his President Trump”. He reiterated that the company has not committed any wrongdoing and is awaiting the day of judgment in the case. Donald Trump is not a defendant in this trial, but his company is at risk of a fine or other sanctions.