Trump associate pleads guilty to tax offenses

USA.- a senior executive of the family business former president Donald Trump pleaded guilty Thursday to Evade taxes as part of a deal with prosecutors that could make him a key witness in a trial this fall against the company.

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to all 15 charges he faced in the case for violating US tax laws.

In a low voice, somewhat hoarse, Weisselberg admitted receiving more than $1.7 million in unreported compensation including his grandchildren’s school tuition, rent for a Manhattan apartment and luxury car lease payments and explicitly keeping certain funds off the record in books

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan agreed to sentence Weisselberg to five months in prison at the Rikers Island prison complex in the New York City, although he will be eligible to be released much sooner for good behavior. The judge said Weisselberg will have to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest.

The plea deal also requires Weisselberg to testify under protest as a prosecution witness when the Trump Organization go to trial in October on related charges. The company is accused of helping Weisselberg and other executives evade income taxes by failing to accurately report their total compensation to the government. Trump himself is not charged in the case.

Weisselberg He did not comment as he left court and did not respond when asked by a reporter if he had any messages for Trump.

Weisselberg’s attorney, Nicholas Gravante Jr.said his client pleaded guilty “to end this case and the years of legal and personal nightmares it has caused him and his family.”

“We’re glad we put this behind us,” the lawyer added.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that Weisselberg’s plea “directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires that Weisselberg provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation.

“We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organization,” he added.

Weisselberg, 75, is the only person so far to face charges in the Manhattan prosecutor’s long-running investigation of the company’s business practices. Considered one of Trump’s most loyal associates, Weisselberg he was arrested in July 2021.

His lawyers have argued that the Democratic-led district attorney’s office is punishing him because he failed to provide information damaging to Trump.

The district attorney has also been investigating whether Trump or your company lied to banks or the government about the real value of your property in order to get loans and lower your taxes.

Last year, then-District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who launched the investigation, instructed his aides to present evidence to a grand jury and request an indictment against Trump, according to Mark Pomerantz, who previously led the investigation.

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But when Vance stepped down, his successor, Bragg, allowed the grand jury to disband without charges. Both prosecutors are Democrats. Bragg has said the investigation is continuing.