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Trump CFO's Deal Could Make Him Witness08/18 05:59

   Donald Trump's chief financial officer is expected to plead guilty to tax 
violations Thursday in a deal that would require him to testify about illicit 
business practices at the former president's company, two people familiar with 
the matter told The Associated Press.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Donald Trump's chief financial officer is expected to plead 
guilty to tax violations Thursday in a deal that would require him to testify 
about illicit business practices at the former president's company, two people 
familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

   Allen Weisselberg is charged with taking more than $1.7 million in 
off-the-books compensation from the Trump Organization over several years, 
including untaxed perks like rent, car payments and school tuition.

   The plea deal would require Weisselberg to speak in court Thursday about the 
company's role in the alleged compensation arrangement and possibly serve as a 
witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related 
charges, the people said.

   The two people were not authorized to speak publicly about the case and did 
so on condition of anonymity.

   Weisselberg, 75, is likely to receive a sentence of five months in jail, to 
be served at New York City's notorious Rikers Island complex, and he could be 
required to pay about $2 million in restitution, including taxes, penalties and 
interest, the people said. If that punishment holds, Weisselberg would be 
eligible for release after about 100 days.

   Messages seeking comment were left with the Manhattan district attorney's 
office and lawyers for Weisselberg and the Trump Organization.

   Weisselberg is the only person to face criminal charges so far in the 
Manhattan district attorney's long-running investigation of the company's 
business practices.

   Seen as one of Trump's most loyal business associates, Weisselberg was 
arrested in July 2021. His lawyers have argued the Democrat-led district 
attorney's office was punishing him because he wouldn't offer information that 
would damage Trump.

   The district attorney has also been investigating whether Trump or his 
company lied to banks or the government about the value of its properties to 
obtain loans or reduce tax bills.

   Former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who started the investigation, 
last year directed his deputies to present evidence to a grand jury and seek an 
indictment of Trump, according to former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who 
previously led the probe.

   But after Vance left office, his successor, Alvin Bragg, allowed the grand 
jury to disband without charges. Both prosecutors are Democrats. Bragg has said 
the investigation is continuing.

   The Trump Organization is not involved in Weisselberg's expected guilty plea 
Thursday and is scheduled to be tried in the alleged compensation scheme in 
October.

   Prosecutors alleged that the company gave untaxed fringe benefits to senior 
executives, including Weisselberg, for 15 years. Weisselberg alone was accused 
of defrauding the federal government, state and city out of more than $900,000 
in unpaid taxes and undeserved tax refunds.

   Under state law, punishment for the most serious charge against Weisselberg, 
grand larceny, could carry a penalty as high as 15 years in prison. But the 
charge carries no mandatory minimum, and most first-time offenders in 
tax-related cases never end up behind bars.

   The tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization are punishable by a 
fine of double the amount of unpaid taxes, or $250,000, whichever is larger.

   Trump has not been charged in the criminal probe. The Republican has decried 
the New York investigations as a "political witch hunt," has said his company's 
actions were standard practice in the real estate business and in no way a 
crime.

   Last week, Trump sat for a deposition in New York Attorney General Letitia 
James' parallel civil investigation into allegations Trump's company misled 
lenders and tax authorities about asset values. Trump invoked his Fifth 
Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.

 
 
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