Speed Reads

The accountant

Trump Organization ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg expected to plead guilty, won't testify against Trump

Former Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg met with New York prosecutors on Monday and is expected to plead guilty as soon as Thursday to tax fraud and other financial crimes, The New York Times and several other news organizations reported Monday evening. Weisselberg, however, has not agreed to cooperate in the Manhattan district attorney's broader criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump and his company or testify against Trump, the news organizations report. 

The Manhattan district attorney's office indicted Weisselberg and the Trump Organization last year, charging them with "a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme" in which company executives avoided paying millions in taxes by accepting off-the-book perks like free apartments and leased luxury cars. Prosecutors say Weisselberg alone skipped paying taxes on $1.76 million in such benefits since 2005. Trump has not been accused of wrongdoing.

A New York judge rejected a motion to dismiss the case last week, setting up an October trial for Weisselberg, who has worked for the Trump family for nearly 50 years, and the Trump Organization. 

"Weisselberg, 75, is facing financial penalties as well as up to 15 years in prison if convicted by a jury," the Times reports, but the plea deal, if it becomes final, "would avoid a high-profile trial and spare him a lengthy sentence." The current deal reportedly involves five months in prison, or about 100 days with good behavior. Weisselberg's refusal to testify against Trump has frustrated Manhattan prosecutors, the Times adds, and his plea deal would bring them "no closer to indicting the former president but would nonetheless brand one of his most trusted lieutenants a felon."

The Trump Organization is reportedly not joining in Weisselberg's plea deal, meaning the company is still on track for trial this fall. District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who inherited the criminal investigation of the Trump Organization from his predecessor, has said the case is still open, but its direction and status are unclear. Two lead prosecutors who resigned earlier this year suggested in a resignation letter that Trump himself might escape "justice" even though there's sufficient evidence he's "guilty of numerous felony violations."

A civil investigation of Trump and his business by the New York state attorney general appears to be nearing its conclusion. Trump testified, and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination hundreds of times, in that case last week.