WASHINGTON — Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, pleaded guilty Thursday to multiple tax evasion charges in a case involving the company’s business dealings.
Weisselberg, 75, agreed to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, interest and penalties and to serve five months in jail at Rikers Island, followed by five years probation, the judge said.
Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were indicted in June 2021 in what prosecutors described as a 15-year “off the book” scheme to help top Trump Organization officials avoid paying taxes. Weisselberg was charged with avoiding paying taxes on $1.7 million of his earnings.
In court Thursday, Weisselberg said he understood he could face up to 15 years in prison if he failed to pay taxes or testify honestly at the Trump Organization trial this fall.
His attorney, Nicholas Gravante Jr., said in a statement that Weisselberg pleaded guilty “to end this case and the legal and personal nightmares it has caused him and his family for years.” Rather than risk the possibility of 15 years in prison, he agreed to serve 100 days. We are happy to have that behind him.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that Weisselberg used his position at the company “to defraud taxpayers and enrich himself.”
“Instead of paying his fair share like everyone else, Weisselberg asked the Trump Organization to provide him with a free apartment, expensive cars, private tuition for his grandchildren, and new furniture – all without pay the required taxes,” Bragg said. the plea deal directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming lawsuit against the company.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James weighed in on Wednesday, saying in a statement that there is “zero tolerance for individuals who defraud our state and deceive our communities.”
“For years, Mr. Weisselberg broke the law to line his pockets and fund a lavish lifestyle. Today, that misconduct comes to an end,” she said. “Let this guilty plea send a loud and clear message: We will crack down on anyone who steals from the public for personal gain, because no one is above the law.”
The Trump Organization faces separate charges, but there are no allegations of foul play against Trump, who has been the subject of longstanding criminal investigations on multiple fronts that have captured national attention ever since. the FBI’s search of his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, last week. There is also no indication that Weisselberg will cooperate with an investigation of Trump personally.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in a statement Wednesday that Weisselberg is an “honorable man who for the past 4 years has been harassed, persecuted and threatened by law enforcement, particularly the prosecutor. of the District of Manhattan, in their endless, politically motivated quest to get President Trump.”
The spokesperson added that they “can’t wait to have our day in court.”
Bragg said in his statement that the investigation of Trump and the company is ongoing.
Chloe Atkins contributed.