Top Trump Company Executive Pleads Guilty To 15 Felony Offenses


Allen Weisselberg, a longtime Trump ally who’s spent decades at the Trump family business, pleaded guilty on Thursday to 15 felony offenses — felonies with which he was originally charged over a years-long scheme to evade taxes on what prosecutors said was over $1.7 million in additional income and perks for the exec.

Weisselberg evidently admitted to all of the felonies prosecutors alleged he perpetrated. His charges originally included conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records, alongside other alleged — and now admitted — offenses. Weisselberg benefited from an array of lavish, high-dollar benefits associated with his work for Trump, including car lease payments, tuition for members of his family, and rent-free apartment space, and in connection to his guilty plea, Weisselberg agreed to pay nearly $2 million in taxes. Prosecutors even alleged Weisselberg concealed his New York City residency to evade city taxes. If Weisselberg went to trial and was convicted by a jury, he could have faced up to 15 years in prison. Now, he’s facing a formal sentence of five months, with less time actually served due to credit for good behavior.

“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,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg remarked on Thursday morning. Weisselberg still faces the possibility of up to 15 years of jail if he violates his plea agreement, the judge noted during the Thursday proceedings.

Weisselberg’s admittance to this range of criminal acts doesn’t directly implicate Trump, but he admitted to conspiring with the Trump company — which was also charged in the case — to perpetrate the years-long tax evasion scheme. Weisselberg is “required to testify at the company’s trial if prosecutors choose to call on him,” as summarized this week by The New York Times. The Trump Organization hasn’t pleaded guilty. In the event of a finding or admittance of guilt, the company — since it can’t, obviously, go to jail — could face financial penalties. For now, the company is still slated to stand trial on the tax evasion charges in October. The Trump Organization was charged with the same 15 felony offenses to which Weisselberg admitted. Prosecutors specifically sought the cooperation of Weisselberg against Trump in his personal capacity, but the former president’s associate consistently refused.

Through the course of Weisselberg benefiting from more than $1.7 million in wide-ranging benefits from the Trump company but avoiding taxes on the same, Trump was personally involved — although the executive, who was the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer but no longer holds that title, didn’t directly implicate Donald. Manhattan prosecutors’ indictment asserted Trump personally signed tuition checks for Weisselberg’s family. Weisselberg only pleaded guilty after failing in an attempt before Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan to see the charges against him dismissed. Separately, former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen alleged Weisselberg’s participation in the infamous hush money scheme targeting women with whom Trump had affairs. In bulking up their broader investigation, prosecutors obtained the cooperation of Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg, who provided records to the Manhattan investigators who brought the case.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons