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Friday, March 31, 2023

Trump CFO’s plea deal could make him a prosecution witness

According to two persons with knowledge of the situation, Donald Trump’s top financial officer is likely to admit guilt to tax offenses on Thursday in exchange for having to testify about shady business dealings at the former president’s firm.

Allen Weisselberg is accused of receiving approximately $1.7 million in unreported salary from the Trump Organization over a number of years, including nontaxable benefits including housing, vehicle payments, and educational costs.

Weisselberg would be required by the plea agreement to testify in court on Thursday about the company’s alleged involvement in the alleged pay scheme and might potentially testify at the Trump Organization’s related trial in October, according to the sources.

The two sources spoke under the condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss the matter in public.

Weisselberg, 75, may be given a term of five months in prison to be served at the notorious Rikers Island prison complex in New York City. He may also be asked to pay roughly $2 million in reparations, which includes taxes, fines, and interest. Weisselberg would be eligible for parole after around 100 days if the penalty is upheld.

Weisselberg and the Trump Organization’s attorneys as well as the Manhattan district attorney’s office have all been contacted for comment.

In the lengthy investigation of the firm’s business activities by the Manhattan district attorney, only Weisselberg has been charged with a crime thus far.

Weisselberg, who was regarded as one of Trump’s most dependable corporate partners, was detained in July 2021. His attorneys have claimed that the district attorney’s office, which is run by Democrats, is punishing him because he refused to provide material that might harm Trump.

Additionally, the district attorney is looking into allegations that Trump or his business misled banks or the government about the worth of its properties in order to get loans or pay less taxes.

According to former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who previously oversaw the investigation, former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who initiated it, instructed his subordinates to bring evidence to a grand jury and pursue an indictment of Trump last year.

But once Vance left office, Alvin Bragg, his successor, permitted the grand jury to dissolve without bringing any indictments. Democrats represent both prosecutors. According to Bragg, the probe is ongoing.

Weisselberg is anticipated to enter a guilty plea on Thursday; the Trump Organization is not a party to the alleged payments scheme and will not be tried until October.

Authorities said that for 15 years, the business provided key executives, including Weisselberg, with untaxed fringe perks. The federal government, state, and municipal were allegedly defrauded of more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and ill-gotten tax rebates by Weisselberg alone.

Grand larceny, the most serious accusation against Weisselberg, carries a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison under state law. However, there is no obligatory minimum sentence for the offense, and most first-time offenders in tax-related cases never go to jail.

The Trump Organization is accused of tax fraud, which carries a maximum penalties of $250,000 or double the amount of unpaid taxes.

Trump has not faced any charges as part of the investigation. The Republican has criticized the New York probes as a “political witch hunt” and said that his company’s activities were just ordinary business procedure and not illegal in any manner.

Trump took the witness stand last week as part of a concurrent civil probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James investigating claims that Trump’s business deceived lenders and tax officials about asset values. More than 400 times, Trump used his Fifth Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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