Last week, former President Trump was forced to sit for a deposition in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation (witch hunt) into allegations that his company misled lenders and tax authorities about asset values.
Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.
In a parallel attack, James’ office targeted a former top executive at President Donald Trump’s family business and others in the Trump administration hoping to get one or more of them to flip on their ultimate target, Mr. Trump himself.
Well, chalk up one for the anti-Trump AG. On Thursday, Allen Weisselberg plead guilty to evading taxes in a deal with prosecutors that could make him a star witness against the company at a trial this fall.
The former Trump Organization CFO pleaded guilty to all 15 of the charges he faced in the case.
He admitted to 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 Merchan sentenced Weisselberg to five months in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex but will be released earlier for his expected good behavior. The judge also ordered Weisselberg to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties, and interest and complete five years of probation.
The plea bargain 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’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 DA Alvin Bragg, a political partisan, 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.
If convicted, the company could face fines or potentially be placed on probation and be forced to change certain business practices.
His sentencing won’t happen until after the trial of the Trump Organization, which is facing tax fraud charges punishable by a fine of double the amount of unpaid taxes, or $250,000, whichever is larger.
Trump has called the New York investigations a “political witch hunt” and has said his company’s actions were standard practice in the real estate business and in no way a crime.
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