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Longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg will plead guilty to 15 felony counts TODAY

Former President Donald Trump‘s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg appeared in court Thursday before a New York judge to admit to 15 felony crimes, after reaching an extraordinary plea deal that would sentence him to five months in prison but have him serve just 100 days.

The plea 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, or testify against Trump family members involved in the company.

But it would require him to testify about a litany of business practices at the firm, after admitting to a series of tax and financial crimes while serving as a top executive there.

Weisselberg, 75, entered his plea before New York state Justice Juan Merchan in Manhattan.

His spoken role was limited: replying simply ‘yes, your honor’ when the judge read each of the 15 tax and fraud counts against him.  

The court promised him a sentence of five months in prison to be served on Rikers Island as well as five years of probation, but he will have to testify truthfully in the Trump Organization set to begin in October.  

With time off for good behavior, sources say he is likely to serve as little as 100 days in prison. 

The Trump Organization immediately hit back through a spokesman, calling the longtime executive a ‘fine and honorable man’ and vowing not to take a plea deal of its own.  

Trump former CFO Allen Weisselberg on Thursday pleaded guilty to tax evasion in Manhattan Supreme Court

‘Allen Weisselberg, a long time, trusted employee of The Trump Organization, is a fine and honorable man who, for the past 4 years, has been harassed, persecuted and threatened by law enforcement, particularly the Manhattan District Attorney, in their never ending, politically motivated quest to get President Trump,’ according to the statement.

‘In the history of our country, no prosecutor has ever brought a criminal case against a person for failing to report a company car, a company apartment or so-called “fringe benefits”. Yet, the Manhattan DA not only seized upon this opportunity, but went so far as to threaten Mr. Weisselberg’s children (who have done nothing wrong) in an attempt to pressure Mr. Weisselberg to say bad things or make up lies about President Trump,’ according to the spokesman, possibly referencing the decision to charge Weisselberg for directing $500,000 in tuition to grandchildren and avoiding paying tax as if it were ordinary income. 

‘Mr. Weisselberg, who just turned 75, in an effort to put this matter behind him and get on with his life, decided that the best course of action—for himself and his family—was to plead guilty. The two Trump companies that the Manhattan DA has been targeting, however, will not be taking a plea for the simple reason that they have done nothing wrong. As a result, we now look forward to having our day in court, which, quite interestingly, has been scheduled for October 24—just days before the mid-term elections,’ said the spokesman – suggesting a political motive. 

Earlier this year Weisselberg’s lawyers say prosecutors threatened to prosecute Weisselberg’s son, Barry, after the father refused to cooperate.

Barry Weisselberg is a Trump employee who managed the Wollman ice rink and whose ex wife once lived in an apartment owned by the Trump Organization. A grand jury subpoenaed his divorce records. 

During his comments as part of an allocution, the judge told Weisselberg that defendants ‘engaged in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud more than one person and to obtain property from more than one person by false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.’

He said Weisselberg obtained property from the IRS, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and the New York Citiy Department of Finance. 

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg issued a statement that Weisselberg ‘admitted that he engaged in the scheme to defraud together with his co-defendants, the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corp. (“the Trump Organization”), specifically implicating the Trump Organization in the criminal charges.’

‘During the scheme up until 2017, former President Donald J. Trump was President and owner of the Trump Organization,’ Bragg noted in the statement. 

Said Bragg: ‘Today Allen Weisselberg admitted in Court that he used his position at the Trump Organization to bilk taxpayers and enrich himself. Instead of paying his fair share like everyone else, Weisselberg had the Trump Organization provide him with a rent-free apartment, expensive cars, private school tuition for his grandchildren and new furniture – all without paying required taxes. This plea agreement 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.’

New York Attorney General Letitia James, sought to lay down a marker for others who might engage in misconduct in a statement on his plea.

‘There is zero tolerance for individuals who defraud our state and cheat our communities. For years, Mr. Weisselberg broke the law to line his own pockets and fund a lavish lifestyle. Today, that misconduct ends. Let this guilty plea send a loud and clear message: we will crack down on anyone who steals from the public for personal gain because no one is above the law,’ she said.

The New York Times reported details of his plea deal Wednesday, sending out just the latest legal shockwaves to hit Trump world.

The former exec, who helped run the Trump Organization while Trump was in the White House along with Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., admitted to all 15 felonies he was charged with and will have to testify about his role in a scheme to avoid paying personal 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 personal crimes will undercut any effort by the company’s lawyers to argue that no crime was committed.

Weissselberg appeared to plead guilty to benefitting from tax fraud of nearly $2 million. He is pictured with lawyer Mary Mulligan

Weissselberg appeared to plead guilty to benefitting from tax fraud of nearly $2 million. He is pictured with lawyer Mary Mulligan

The deal is expected to get Weisselberg a five-month sentence, but he may have to serve just 100 days in prison

The deal is expected to get Weisselberg a five-month sentence, but he may have to serve just 100 days in prison

Weisselberg is expected to plead guilty to numerous tax related charges including grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and conspiracy

Weisselberg is expected to plead guilty to numerous tax related charges including grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and conspiracy

Donald Trump with Trump Organization chief financial offi then-U.S. Republican presidential candi

Donald Trump with Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg at a news conference at Trump Tower in May 2016

He is expected to plead guilty to tax fraud conspiracies involving the Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corporation.

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 personal 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 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

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

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

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

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.

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