Former President Donald Trump’s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg is expected to stand before a New York judge and admit to 15 felony crimes Thursday, after reaching an extraordinary plea deal that would sentence him to five months in prison but have him serve just 100 days.
The plea, first reported Wednesday night, would not require Weisselberg to testify against his longtime boss, whose father Fred Trump first brought him into the company that would propel Donald Trump to the White House.
But it would require him to testify about a litany of ‘off the books’ business practices, tax and financial crimes.
A judge is expected to sentence him to five months in prison. But with time off for good behavior, sources say he is likely to serve as little as 100 days in prison.
The New York Times reported details of his plea deal Wednesday
The former exec, who helped run the Trump Organization while Trump was in the White House along with Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., will have to admit to all 15 felonies he was charged with and will have to testify about his role in a scheme to avoid paying taxes on lavish corporate perks.
That testimony will make Weisselberg a central witness in the October trial of the Trump Organization, where it will face many of the same charges.
He is not expected to implicate the former president nor any Trump family members in his testimony.
But the acknowledgment from one of the Trump Organization’s top executives that he committed the crimes will undercut any effort by the company’s lawyers to argue that no crime was committed.
Law enforcement personnel escort the Trump Organization’s former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, center, as he departs court, Friday, August 12, 2022, in New York
Donald Trump with Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg at a news conference at Trump Tower in May 2016
The New York Daily News reported a much stiffer sentence as part of the deal, with the longtime exec expected to spend up to five months in prison at Rikers Island.
Several sources close to the investigation said they expected the Trump Organization to come out firing. ‘They are fully ramped up for trial and expect to fight this all the way through,’ said one, who confirmed that Weisselberg had agreed to plead guilty to 15 felony charges and could see his potential jail time cut to 100 days.
A source familiar with former President Trump’s thinking said Weisselberg had long been viewed as a member of the family
‘They broke him in their effort to get Trump and he just wanted this over,’ they said. ‘Everyone thinks he is a good man.’
The guilty plea is just the latest event to undercut Trump’s campaign statement that ‘surround[s] myself only with the best and most serious people.’
Prosecutors are expected to use Weisselberg’s testimony as a springboard to broader claims against the Trump Organization.
Weisselberg, 75, is the only Trump executive charged in the years-long criminal investigation started by former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who went to the Supreme Court to secure Trump’s tax records.
Vance’s successor, Alvin Bragg, is now overseeing the investigation. Several other Trump executives have been granted immunity to testify before a grand jury in the case.
Weisselberg began working for Trump’s father, Fred Trump, in 1973.
He climbed the ranks at the Trump Organization in the decades that followed. By the late 1980s, he was controller of the company and, in 2000, was named chief financial officer and vice president of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. He also was a board member and treasurer of the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
He has also handled the household expenses of the Trump family.
On January 11, 2017, shortly before Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States, the Trump Organization announced that Weisselberg would manage the company along with Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. during Trump’s presidency.
That stewardship came despite public pressure at the time for Trump to completely divest from the company at a time when he was running the country.
Weisselberg has unsurpassed knowledge of the inner financial workings of the Trump Organization and was under heavy pressure from prosecutors to cooperate in their investigation.
Prosecutors alleged that Weisselberg and the Trump Organization schemed to give off-the-books compensation to senior executives, including Weisselberg, for 15 years.
Weisselberg was charged with evading $1.7 million of income, including rent for a Manhattan apartment, lease payments for two Mercedes-Benz vehicles and tuition for family members, with Trump signing checks for the tuition himself.
Prosecutors obtained information on the tuition by subpoenaing Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School for document.
The children’s mother, Jennifer Weisselberg, told the Wall Street Journal payments totaled $500,000 from 2012 to 2019.
He also was accused of defrauding the federal government, state and city out of more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and undeserved tax refunds.
The Trump Organization itself is being investigated for its own tax practices: including pumping up valuations when seeking lending, while low-balling values with tax authorities, according to James’ office.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty. Donald Trump has not been charged with any crimes.
He has decried the New York investigations as a ‘political witch hunt,’ has said his company’s actions were standard practice in the real estate business and in no way a crime.
The trial is scheduled for late October.
If the schedule holds, the Trump Organization will be on trial during the November midterm elections where the former president’s Republican Party could win control of one or both houses of Congress.
Some Republican leaders already fumed that Trump’s election fraud claims may have cost the party control of the Senate amid two runoff elections in Georgia in 2020.
Trump is also considering another presidential bid for 2024, and has continued to tease a potential run following the FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago home, in connection with yet another probe, this one relating to removal of classified White House materials to his Florida country club.
Allen Weisselbrg in New York State Supreme Court last month
Allen Weisselberg managed the Trump Organization, along with Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., during Trump’s presidency; above Allen Weisselberg, center, is seen between President-elect Donald Trump, left, and Donald Trump Jr. at a news conference in January 2017
Donald Trump Jr. testified in the New York AG’s probe of Trump Organization finances
Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump are seen at the funeral of Ivana Trump on July 20, 2022 in New York City. Ivanka’s testimony was delayed by the event
New York attorney general Letitia James has spent months investigating the Trump Organization. Trump has repeatedly attacked her probe
Last week, Trump sat for a deposition in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ parallel civil investigation into allegations Trump’s company misled lenders and tax authorities about asset values.
Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times. That development came in sharp contrast to Trump’s past public statement that about the constitutional right against self-incrimination. ‘You see the mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’
In the months after Weisselberg’s arrest, the criminal probe appeared to be progressing toward a possible criminal indictment of Trump himself, but the investigation slowed, a grand jury was disbanded and a top prosecutor left after Bragg took office in January – although he insists it is continuing.
Weisselberg’s plea is just the latest development in a probe that has also involved three of Trump’s adult children.
Son Eric Trump, a Trump Organization executive, also testified, and himself repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment.
Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. also testified after a court fight in recent weeks, coming in for a delayed appearance after the death of their mother, Ivana. A New York appeals court in May ruled that Trump and his adult children must testify in James’ probe.
Donald Trump Jr. is an executive who helped run the country while his father was in the White House.
Don Jr. reportedly did not invoke the Fifth and answered investigators’ questions.
Ivana Trump was an unpaid White House aide in the Trump White House. She served as a contact with Deutsche Bank, which served as the company’s primary lender.
Weisselberg’s plea deal lis just the latest bombshell legal development for Trump this summer.
Earlier this month, FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago in search of classified documents after the former president’s office returned 15 boxes of other material to the government.
Longtime Trump advisor and former lawyer Rudy Giuliani testified Wednesday in Fulton County, Georgia in a probe Trump’s election overturn effort in the state. On Monday, Giuliani’s lawyer said prosecutors had told his client he was a target of the probe.
The House Jan. 6th Committee continues its own investigation of the Capitol riot, with panel vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney losing her primary in Wyoming and Trump celebrating her loss.
Former White House lawyer have been revealed to have testified before a federal grand jury under subpoena as federal prosecutors probe Jan. 6th.