Trump’s former top moneyman pleaded guilty to a bunch of money crimes
Part of the plea deal for Allen Weisselberg includes an agreement to testify against his former employer, the Trump Organization.
Unlike so many of former President Donald Trump’s various hangers-on and enablers, Allen Weisselberg is hardly a household name. The former CFO of the Trump Organization is not a flashy media hog like Rudy Giuliani, or a bombastic wise guy like Michael Cohen. He was, however, perhaps the single most important cog within the Trump Organization itself, aside from members of the Trump family. He’s been described as the man who “knows where all financial bodies are buried” and “as existential a threat” to Trump as exists.
And as of this week, Weisselberg has a new addition to his list of various titles and honorifics: admitted felon.
Weisselberg, who stepped back from his role in Trump Organization in 2021 after decades of working for the family, pleaded guilty on Thursday to 15 felonies related to years of tax avoidance and fraud designed to dramatically undervalue various assets in order to lower his overall liability. Crucially, Weisselberg’s plea deal included an agreement that he’d testify for the prosecution at the upcoming trial for the Trump Organization itself, which has been accused of similar tax fraud. That trial is scheduled to begin in October.
In exchange for his plea, Weisselberg will reportedly face minimal jail time (the sentence was for five months, but he’ll actually likely serve less than that accounting for credited time) and will pay back several million dollars in overdue taxes and fines. Should he not meet those conditions, however, “I would be at liberty to impose any lawful sentence which in your case includes imprisonment from five to 15 years,” Judge Juan Merchan told Weisselberg during Thursday’s hearing, adding that the final sentencing decision will happen this fall.
Despite Weisselberg’s admissions of guilt, his plea does not directly implicate Donald Trump himself, who is also under investigation by both the Manhattan district attorney’s office and New York State Attorney General Tish James. Neither Trump nor other members of his family have been personally charged with a crime, CNN noted.
“In one of the most difficult decisions of his life, Mr. Weisselberg decided to enter a plea of guilty today to put an end to this case and the years-long legal and personal nightmares it has caused for him and his family,” Weisselberg’s attorney told The New York Times. “Rather than risk the possibility of 15 years in prison, he has agreed to serve 100 days. We are glad to have this behind him.”
“This plea agreement directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg countered in a separate statement. “Furthermore, thanks to the incredibly hard work and dedication of the team prosecuting this case, Weisselberg will spend time behind bars. We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organization.”
In 2018, Weisselberg was granted immunity for his testimony against longtime associate and Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen in the investigation over hush money payments facilitated by Cohen to silence Trump’s one-time alleged paramour Stormy Daniels.