Allen Weisselberg, Donald Trump’s chief financial officer, is expected to plead guilty to tax violations Thursday in a deal that would require him to testify about illegal business practices at the Trump Organization, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Weisselberg is accused of accepting more than $1.7 million in illegal compensation from the former president’s company over a period of several years, including untaxed benefits such as rent, car payments, and school tuition.
He spoke quietly with his lawyers as he awaited the hearing in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday morning.
According to the people, the plea agreement would require Weisselberg to testify in court on Thursday about the company’s role in the alleged compensation arrangement and possibly serve as a witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related criminal charges.
The two people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Weisselberg, 75, is expected to receive a five-month prison sentence to be served at New York City’s notorious Rikers Island complex, as well as a $2 million restitution payment, including taxes, penalties, and interest, according to the people. If the sentence is upheld, Weisselberg will be eligible for release in about 100 days.
So far, Weisselberg is the only person charged in the Manhattan district attorney’s long-running investigation into the company’s business practices.
Weisselberg, regarded as one of Trump’s most devoted business associates, was arrested in July 2021. His attorneys have claimed that the Democrat-led district attorney’s office is punishing him because he refused to provide information that would harm Trump.
The district attorney is also looking into whether Trump or his company lied to banks or the government about the value of their properties in order to obtain loans or lower their tax bills.
According to former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who previously worked for the investigation’s initiator, then-District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., last year directed his deputies to present evidence to a grand jury and seek an indictment of Trump. However, after Vance left office, his successor, Alvin Bragg, allowed the grand jury to disband without issuing any charges. The prosecutors are both Democrats. Bragg has stated that the investigation is ongoing.
The Trump Organization is not involved in Weisselberg’s expected guilty plea on Thursday, and he is scheduled to stand trial in October in connection with the alleged compensation scheme.
Prosecutors claimed that for 15 years, the company provided untaxed fringe benefits to senior executives, including Weisselberg. Weisselberg was accused of stealing more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and undeserved tax refunds from the federal government, state, and city.
Under state law, the most serious charge leveled against Weisselberg, grand larceny, could result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years. However, there is no mandatory minimum for the charge, and most first-time offenders in tax-related cases never end up in jail.
Tax evasion charges against the Trump Organization carry a fine of double the amount of unpaid taxes, or $250,000, whichever is greater.
Trump has not been charged in the criminal investigation. The Republican has called the New York investigations a “political witch hunt,” claiming that his company’s actions were standard practice in the real estate industry and were not criminal in any way.
Trump testified last week in a parallel civil investigation launched by New York Attorney General Letitia James into allegations that Trump’s company misled lenders and tax authorities about asset values. Trump used his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 400 times.