According to Reuters, a New York state judge announced last week that the one-time chief financial officer of former President Donald Trump’s real estate firm would go on trial this fall for tax evasion charges.
It now appears that trial won’t be happening, however, as The Hill reported that this week the former executive chose to plead guilty.
The former chief financial officer agreed to five-month behind bars
Reuters stated on August 12 that Justice Juan Merchan chose to dismiss one of 15 charges against Allen Weisselberg on the grounds that prosecutors had been too late in bringing it.
Yet Merchan refused a request to toss out the other 14, rejecting arguments made by Weisselberg’s lawyers that their client was the victim of a politically motivated selective prosecution.
Those charges stemmed from allegations that Weisselberg illegally provided other executives with some $1.7 million worth of income in the form of “off the books” benefits.
These undeclared benefits were said to include apartment rent, leases for luxury vehicles, and college tuition for family members.
While Weisselberg had been facing the prospect of up to 15 years behind bars were he to be convicted at trial, The Hill revealed on Thursday that the former chief financial officer has changed his plea to guilty.
Under the terms of an agreement reached with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, Weisselberg is set to receive a jail sentence of five months.
Weisselberg will testify at the Trump Organization trial
The Hill also noted that the Trump Organization is itself scheduled to go on trial in October, and Weisselberg is expected to testify.
While his plea deal does not carry any formal obligation to cooperate, New York University School of Law professor Andrew Weissmann told the website that Weisselberg could still create problems for the Trump Organization.
Weissmann explained that Weisselberg’s guilty plea and testimony makes it “much harder” for the Trump organization to mount a defense, noting, “The organization acts through its people.”
“This is the CFO saying that he did this and these are not crimes that are unrelated to the organization and the organization benefited directly from this,” Weissmann pointed out.