The former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization is expected to plead guilty Thursday to a 15-year tax fraud scheme, and he is willing to testify in a possible future trial but will not enter into a cooperation agreement to aid New York prosecutors in their criminal investigation of the real estate company’s finances, a person familiar with the matter said.
Allen Weisselberg, a fiercely loyal, long-time employee of former President Donald Trump’s company, is in advanced talks to plead to the indictment, the person said. The judge overseeing the case has set a hearing for Thursday morning.
Under the terms of the deal, which is still being finalized, Weisselberg would receive a five-month prison sentence but would serve about 100 days behind bars, the person said. Weisselberg faced up to 15 years in prison.
Weisselberg will not sign up as a cooperator, the person said, but he will testify at trial – if the case moves forward and the Trump Organization does not itself reach a plea agreement. The judge set the trial for October 24.
The New York Times first reported details of plea deal.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office announced the tax charges last year and sought to win Weisselberg’s cooperation against the former President in a broader criminal investigation into the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s financial statements. Despite the pressure, Weisselberg did not agree to “flip” or cooperate against Trump or his children. No charges have been brought in that investigation.
A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Trump Organization was charged with 10 counts and Weisselberg with 15 felony counts in connection with an alleged scheme stretching back to 2005 “to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives in a manner that was ‘off the books.’”
Prosecutors allege Weisselberg failed to pay taxes on $1.7 million in income, including luxury perks, such as a Manhattan apartment, a pair of Mercedes-Benz cars and private school tuition for two family members.
The decision followed Judge Juan Merchan denying Weisselberg and the Trump Organization’s motions to dismiss the tax charges at a hearing last week.
Weisselberg’s expected guilty plea comes during a dramatic legal period for Trump, who last week at a deposition in the New York attorney general’s civil investigation asserted his Fifth Amendment right and declined to answer hundreds of questions about the Trump Organization’s financial statements.
That came two days after the FBI executed a search warrant on Trump’s private Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, as part of a criminal investigation into the handling of presidential records, including classified documents.