(Bloomberg) -- Longtime Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg could be compelled to testify against the company after agreeing to plead guilty to more than a dozen tax-fraud counts, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Though Weisselberg, who turned 75 on Monday, won’t cooperate with authorities as part of his plea deal, he could be subpoenaed to testify for the prosecution if former President Donald Trump’s family real estate business proceeds to a trial scheduled to begin on Oct. 24, the people said.
Weisselberg’s guilty plea hasn’t been finalized and a hearing in the matter is scheduled for Thursday before New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan. Theoretically, the CFO faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted at trial, but he is expected to receive a five-month sentence pursuant to his plea agreement, the people said. With good behavior, he may serve only around 100 days behind bars.
Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, declined to comment on the plea talks. Mary Mulligan, another lawyer for Weisselberg, didn’t return email or voicemail messages seeking comment.
Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were both charged last year with conspiring to avoid income taxes by compensating some employees with perks that weren’t reported to tax authorities. Weisselberg was accused of being the main beneficiary, receiving more than $1.7 million in benefits including a free Manhattan luxury apartment and Mercedes-Benz cars for both him and his wife.
At an Aug. 12 hearing, Merchan rejected requests from the company and Weisselberg to dismiss the charges and set the October trial date. Weisselberg had argued that the case had been brought against him because he refused to cooperate with prosecutors targeting Trump himself.
Two senior prosecutors resigned from the case earlier this year, saying Bragg didn’t support their push to charge the former president. The district attorney has said the investigation is ongoing.
Lawyers for Weisselberg, who served as a Trump executive for four decades, met with prosecutors on Monday to discuss a resolution ahead of the trial, the people said. The New York Times reported the plea talks earlier.
If the Trump company decides to face the tax-fraud case alone, the trial could be underway during the November mid-term elections.
It is one of several legal threats surrounding Trump. The Justice Department is investigating Trump over confidential documents that were recovered last week from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The former president was also questioned under oath last week in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s civil investigation of possible fraud in his real estate valuations. He declined to answer the questions, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The case is: The People of the State of New York v. The Trump Organization 1473/2021, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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