September 30, 2022

Trump CEO Alan Weiselberg pleads guilty to tax fraud

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NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump’s longtime top finance official Alan Weiselberg pleaded guilty Thursday to more than a dozen counts of criminal tax fraud and grand larceny.

Weiselberg and the Trump Organization were accused Last year He accused officials in New York of hiding some of the financial compensation as part of a years-long scheme to avoid paying taxes. The case is part of a legal disaster surrounding Trump and his closest allies, with local, state and federal officials investigating everything from leaving office to businesses named after him to handling classified government documents.

Appearing in a Manhattan court, Weiselberg, 75, admitted his role in the scheme outlined by prosecutors — and agreed to testify if called in a pending trial for the company. As part of his plea deal, Weiselberg, a close and trusted ally of Trump for decades, will serve five months in prison, followed by five years of probation.

Alan Weiselberg, the chief financial officer of former President Donald Trump’s company, appeared in a New York court on August 18 to face more than ten felony charges. (Video: AP)

Weiselberg spoke very little during the trial. He answered “yes” to confirm his activities and guilt on each count. His future testimony, however, could prove damaging to the company named after the former president, which prosecutors say operated “a massive and audacious illegal payments scheme.”

The status of major investigations involving Donald Trump

According to the district attorney’s office, Weiselberg’s conviction is contingent on him “testifying truthfully” in the Trump Organization’s investigation.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that the plea deal “directly implicates” the Trump Organization in “a wide range of criminal activity.”

“Also, thanks to the incredible hard work and dedication of the team investigating this case, Weiselberg will spend time behind bars,” Bragg said. “We look forward to proving our case against the Trump Organization in court.”

The former president and those close to him have attacked the case. He combines that with a flurry of other investigations and investigations into what he routinely refers to as a “witch hunt” orchestrated by Democrats who don’t like him.

In a statement, his firm called Weiselberg “a good and honorable man who, over the past 4 years, has been harassed, harassed and threatened by law enforcement, particularly the Manhattan District Attorney, in their never-ending, politically motivated quest to get President Trump.”

Weisselberg, the company’s statement said, pleaded guilty “in an attempt to put this matter behind him and move on with his life.” The company also promised that the two corporate entities charged with Weisselberg would be charged “We are now looking forward to our day in court,” he said, denying any wrongdoing and no appeal.

Jury selection in the Trump Organization’s trial is scheduled to begin in late October, “just days before the midterm elections,” the agency noted.

Weiselberg is expected to reach a plea deal It was revealed on Monday, his 75th birthday. a man Knowing what was said then He is not expected to assist in the investigation of the former president. Weiselberg’s impeachment in July 2021 is part of a move to get his cooperation against Trump, people familiar with the strategy said last year.

“In one of the most difficult decisions of his life, Mr. Weisselberg decided to enter a guilty plea today to end this case and the years of legal and personal nightmares it has caused him and his family,” said Gravante Jr., Nicholas Weisselberg’s attorney. said in a statement. He has agreed to serve 100 days rather than face 15 years in prison. We’re glad this is behind him.

Prague, which was inaugurated earlier this year Faced with public pressure On his office’s investigation into Trump. Two senior lawyers are involved in the case He resigned in protest After Prague learned, it did not authorize them to seek an indictment against the former president. Bragg did A general statement Vasanti said the investigation was ongoing, and his office reiterated that on Thursday.

“For years, Mr. Weiselberg broke the law to line his own pockets and fund a lavish lifestyle,” New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who is investigating Trump and his business practices, said in a statement. “Today, that misbehavior comes to an end. Let the plea to this crime send a loud and clear message: Because no one is above the law, we will crack down hard on those who steal from the public for personal gain.

The former president, who is said to be plotting another bid for the White House, is facing a blowout Legal StudiesExamining efforts to sway the 2020 election, his handling of classified documents after leaving office, his taxes and Jan. 6, 2021, including his actions in relation to the riots at the US Capitol.

Weiselberg’s plea came the same day, underscoring the array of scrutiny and legal danger facing the former president and others in his orbit. An investigation in South Florida Regarding whether an affidavit has been submitted earlier An FBI search Trump’s residence may be made public.

A day earlier, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as Trump’s lawyer, Appeared before a Georgia grand jury As part of a criminal investigation into attempts to alter the 2020 election. Giuliani has been told that he The goal of that inquiryAccording to his lawyers.

Trump-friendly attorneys tracked down voting machine data in several states, records reveal

For Weiselberg, who has worked for the Trump family for nearly 50 years, the plea deal appears to be the endgame in his criminal case, barring a trial in downtown Manhattan that would have drawn significant media attention.

In Accusation Last year, Visalberg was described as “one of the largest individual beneficiaries” of what prosecutors described as a wide-ranging, long-term scheme.

The indictment alleges that the Trump Organization paid rent and utilities for the Manhattan apartment where he lived and financed the lease on Mercedes-Benz cars for Weiselberg and his wife, but failed to report this as income and pay required taxes. The indictment also said he “willfully omitted” compensation from his tax returns.

Between 2005 and 2017, Weiselberg defrauded “hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal, state and local taxes” and embezzled $1.7 million in compensation from tax authorities.

As part of a plea deal outlined in court, Weiselberg agreed to pay back the taxes he owes, plus penalties and interest. — totaling $1.9 million, according to the district attorney’s office. And if he doesn’t live up to the plea deal, he will face severe punishment imposed by the court.

Berman reported from Washington. Shayna Jacobs in New York and Josh Dawsey in Washington contributed to this report.