Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of former President Donald Trump’s real estate business, pleaded guilty Thursday after reaching a deal with prosecutors for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, according to multiple news reports.
Weisselberg is the first individual to be criminally prosecuted as part of the DA’s investigation into the Trump Organization, a group of business entities owned by the former president.
Weisselberg admitted to the 15 counts he was charged with, but did not agree to disclose any information on Trump himself, according to The New York Times.
He will also have to pay a fine of about $2 million, according to the New York Post.
The deal requires Weisselberg to testify in the trial against the Trump Organization and speak to his involvement in devising the scheme with the company, the Times reported.
Weisselberg reportedly agreed to a five-month jail term, but could serve as few as 100 days in prison, according to the Times.
Earlier this week, the Times had reported Weisselberg was close to a deal after his lawyers, Manhattan prosecutors and the judge presiding over the case, Juan Manuel Merchan, met on Monday.
Nicholas Gravante Jr., Weisselberg’s lawyer, had confirmed to the Times that his client was negotiating a deal, but declined to offer any details.
Weisselberg was due in court in October after a judge dismissed an attempt by both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization to get the case thrown out earlier this month. The judge only agreed to strike down one charge against the Trump Organization, citing the statute of limitations, The Associated Press reported.
Weisselberg was indicted in July 2021 for participating in a 15-year tax fraud scheme that saw him receive “off the books” compensation that amounted to around $1.76 million, according to the indictment.
The compensation included rent, private school tuition expenses for some of Weisselberg’s family members and lease payments on Mercedes cars for Weisselberg and his wife, per the indictment.
The charges Weisselberg faced included scheme conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records.
“The purpose of the scheme was to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives in a manner that was ‘off the books’: the beneficiaries of the scheme received substantial portions of their income through indirect and disguised means, with compensation that was unreported or misreported by [the Trump Organization] to the tax authorities,” the indictment stated.
The indictment went on to explain how the scheme helped Weisselberg and other employees engage in tax evasion.
“The scheme was intended to allow certain employees to substantially understate their compensation from the Trump Organization, so that they could and did pay federal, state, and local taxes in amounts that were significantly less than the amounts that should have been paid,” it continued.
The Trump Organization was also charged as part of the scheme but is not expected to be part of the plea agreement announced Thursday.
Trump himself was not charged as part of the investigation but prosecutors said the former president personally signed checks used to cover the school tuition for some of Weisselberg’s family members, according to the indictment.
While a criminal indictment against Trump initially looked possible, the prospect appears unlikely since Alvin Bragg took over from Cyrus Vance Jr. as district attorney. Two federal prosecutors working on the case resigned in February reportedly in protest over Bragg’s approach to the case and a grand jury meant to look into the case was disbanded, according to The Washington Post. Bragg, though, maintains the investigation is continuing.
The former president appeared before a separate — parallel — civil investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James into his business dealings. During his testimony, Trump reportedly pleaded the Fifth Amendment over 400 times, according to NBC News, and only answered one question about his name, one of his lawyers said.