Trump executive pleads guilty in tax case, agrees to testify

  • The Trump Organization's former accountant Allen Weisselberg, right, arrives in the courtroom, in New York, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. Weisselberg is charged with accepting more than $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation from the former president's company over several years, including untaxed perks like rent, car payments and school tuition. (Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

NEW YORK — A top executive at former President Donald Trump’s family business pleaded guilty Thursday to evading taxes on a free apartment and other perks, striking a deal with prosecutors that could make him a star witness against the company at a trial this fall.

Allen Weisselberg, a senior Trump Organization adviser and formerly the company’s longtime chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to all 15 of the charges he faced in the case.

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In a low, somewhat hoarse voice, Weisselberg admitted taking in over $1.7 million worth of untaxed extras — including school tuition for his grandchildren, free rent for a Manhattan apartment and lease payments for a luxury car — and explicitly keeping some of the plums off the books.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan agreed to sentence the 75-year-old executive to five months in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, although he will be eligible for release after little more than three months if he behaves behind bars. The judge said Weisselberg will have to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest and complete five years of probation.

The plea bargain also requires Weisselberg to testify truthfully as a prosecution witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related charges. The company is accused of helping Weisselberg and other executives avoid income taxes by failing to report their full compensation accurately to the government. Trump himself is not charged in the case.

Weisselberg will remain free on bail until he is formally sentenced following the company’s trial. He said nothing as he left court, offering no reply when a journalist asked whether he had any message for Trump.

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