Allen Weisselberg, the former longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, will plead guilty on Thursday to all 15 felony charges alleged by the Manhattan district attorney's office in a criminal tax fraud scheme, The New York Times and other news organizations reported Wednesday night.
The most serious charges carries up to 15 years in prison, but under a plea deal Weisselberg finalized Wednesday with prosecutors and the judge overseeing the case, he is expected to be sentenced to a maximum of five months at New York City's notorious Riders Island prison and could pay about $2 million in restitution.
A Manhattan grand jury indicted Weisselberg and the Trump Organization in June 2021; prosecutors say the finance chief avoided paying taxes on more than $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation. The Trump Organization, which isn't part of Weisselberg's plea arrangement, is scheduled to go on trial in October.
As part of Wednesday's plea deal, Weisselberg, 75, will agree to testify against the Trump Organization if the case goes to trial, the Times and CNN report. He will also have to speak in court on Thursday and admit to conspiring with the Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corporation to carry out the off-the-books compensation scheme, The Associated Press adds. But Weisselberg will not be required to cooperate against former President Donald Trump or "anybody with the last name Trump," a source familiar with the matter told the New York Daily News.
Weisselberg's refusal to implicate Trump, who isn't accused of wrongdoing, frustrated prosecutors, but his "testimony — an acknowledgment from one of the Trump Organization's top executives that he committed the crimes listed in the indictment — would undercut any effort by the company's lawyers to contend that no crime was committed," the Times reports.
"If this is true, it's a devastating blow to the Trump Organization," white-collar defense lawyer Daniel Alonso tells the Daily News. "It would make it a relatively easy case to prove if you have a high managerial agent on the stand saying, 'I'm guilty.' That's enormously helpful to the prosecution."
The judge won't sentence Weisselberg until after the Trump Organization's trial concludes, giving "prosecutors some leverage over him until the time that he may testify," the Times reports.