Carlo Allegri/Reuters/File Photo
- Top Trump money man Allen Weisselberg sentenced to five months in Trump Org tax-dodge scheme.
- He testified in a monthlong tax crimes trial against the Trump Organization, which was found guilty.
- The former executive remained on the company’s payroll while testifying at the trial.
A Manhattan judge on Tuesday sentenced Allen Weisselberg, the longtime top financial official of former President Donald Trump’s company, to five months in jail for a running a complex and lengthy payroll-tax fraud scheme at the company.
“The entire case was driven by greed,” said the judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, in imposing the sentence.
Weisselberg appeared in court wearing not his typical crisp business suit, but an olive green fleece jacket.
His client meant no disrespect, defense lawyer Nicholas Gravante Jr., told the judge.
“He is dressed the way he is because he expects to be remanded today and wanted to appear in the appropriate clothes,” the lawyer explained.
He had pleaded guilty in August to 15 felony counts — including scheme to defraud, conspiracy, grand larceny, and criminal tax fraud — first brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office in July 2021.
The former Trump Organization chief financial officer had overseen a decade-long scheme that allowed top executives to dodge hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.
Over the course of the scheme, Weisselberg admittedly enjoyed some $900,000 in perks, including luxury apartments and cars, and tuition for his grandchildren, without paying a cent in taxes on them.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, the 75-year-old was required to serve five months in jail, and then have five years of probation, providing he testified truthfully at trial. He also had to pay $2 million in taxes, interest, and fines, a condition prosecutors said Tuesday that he has met.
Along with charges against Weisselberg, the Manhattan district attorney’s office brought charges against the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation, two of the entities that comprise the Trump Organization.
As part of his plea deal, Weisselberg took the stand for three days in the trial against the corporate entities, which took place in a lower Manhattan courtroom between late October and early December.
The former president and his family members weren’t personally charged, although the district attorney’s investigation appears to be ongoing.
Former CFO Allen Weisselberg leaves the courtroom for a lunch recess during a trial at the New York Supreme Court on November 17, 2022 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Weisselberg’s plea came after months of pressure from the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Hanging over him was the specter of charges against his son, Barry Weisselberg, who also worked for the Trump Organization and had tuition bills for his kids comped by the company. Jeff McConney, the company’s controller, previously testified before the grand jury, which immunized him from criminal charges.
But when Weisselberg took the stand at the Trump Organization’s trial, he was less than forthcoming, jurors found in their decision to find the company guilty.
“He has a half a million reasons to kind of shade the truth towards their side of the room,” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass told the jury, a reference to a possible $500,000 annual bonus Weisselberg had hoped for in January, on top of his $1.14 Trump Organization pay package for 2022.
The question of Weisselberg’s allegiance — to the Trump Organization or to the truth — had raised the possibility that New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan would revoke the plea deal.
A separate sentencing hearing, for the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation, is scheduled for Friday.
This is a breaking story; please check back for developments.