NEW YORK (AP) — 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 wrongful business practices at the former president’s company, two people familiar with the matter said of the matter to The Associated Press.
Allen Weisselberg is accused of receiving more than $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation from the Trump Organization over several years, including untaxed benefits such as rent, car payments and school tuition.
The plea deal would require Weisselberg to speak in court Thursday about the company’s role in the alleged compensation deal and possibly serve as a witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related charges, the people said .
The two people were not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Weisselberg, 75, is likely to receive a five-month prison sentence, to be served at New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail, and could be ordered to pay about $2 million in restitution , including taxes, penalties and interest, the people. said If that sentence is upheld, Weisselberg could be released after about 100 days.
Messages seeking comment were left with the Manhattan district attorney’s office and attorneys for Weisselberg and the Trump Organization.
Weisselberg is the only person to face criminal charges so far in the Manhattan district attorney’s long-running investigation into the company’s business practices.
Considered one of Trump’s most loyal business partners, Weisselberg was arrested in July 2021. His lawyers have argued that the Democratic-led district attorney’s office was punishing him because he would not provide information that would harm Trump.
The district attorney has also been investigating whether Trump or his company lied to banks or the government about the value of their properties to get loans or lower taxes.
Former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who launched the investigation, last year ordered his deputies to present evidence to a grand jury and seek an indictment of Trump, according to former U.S. Attorney Mark Pomerantz, who previously direct the research.
But after Vance left office, his successor, Alvin Bragg, allowed the grand jury to dissolve without charges. Both prosecutors are Democrats. Bragg said the investigation is ongoing.
The Trump Organization is not involved in Weisselberg’s expected guilty plea on Thursday and is scheduled to stand trial in the alleged compensation scheme in October.
Prosecutors alleged the company gave top executives, including Weisselberg, untaxed fringe benefits for 15 years. Weisselberg alone was charged with defrauding the federal, state and city governments of more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and unearned tax refunds.
Under state law, the punishment for the most serious charge against Weisselberg, grand larceny, could carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. But the charge carries no mandatory minimum, and most first-time offenders in tax-related cases never end up behind bars.
Tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization are punishable by a fine of twice the amount of unpaid taxes, or $250,000, whichever is greater.
Trump has not been charged in the criminal investigation. The Republican has denounced the New York investigations as a “political witch hunt,” saying his company’s actions were common practice in the real estate business and in no way a crime.
Last week, Trump filed a statement in the parallel civil investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James into allegations that Trump’s company misled lenders and tax authorities about the value of assets. Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.