Trump Organization's Allen Weisselberg gets hit with jail time
New York, New York — Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s convicted chief financial officer, was officially sentenced to jail time on Tuesday for scheming to dodge taxes at the former president’s company.
Does the punishment fit the crime?
Weisselberg appeared before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchant to learn his fate: five months in jail for his part in a decade-long tax fraud scheme at Donald Trump's company.
He pleaded guilty in August to 15 felonies and struck a deal with prosecutors. They previously promised to endorse a five-month stint on Rikers Island if Weisselberg testified truthfully at the company’s criminal tax fraud trial, which ended in two entities’ convictions on December 6 and with Weisselberg painted as the scapegoat.
The 75-year-old is expected to report to Rikers immediately to begin his sentence.
The former veteran employee had worked for the Trump family since his hiring by Donald’s father, Fred, in Brooklyn in the early 1970s to work as a bookkeeper. He described himself in a 2015 deposition as Trump’s "eyes and ears" from a financial standpoint.
In pleading guilty last August and in his testimony at the trial, Weisselberg admitted to receiving more than $1.7 million in off-the-books perks over 15 years while heading the Trump Organization finances, on top of his $450,000 salary and hefty bonuses.
Luxury expenses Weisselberg and the company didn’t notify the government about included rent-free apartments in Manhattan for him and his son Barry’s young family, Mercedes-Benz car leases for him and his wife, private school tuition for his grandchildren, and furniture for his holiday home in Florida. At the Trump Org's trial in November, he said he kept two sets of books.
Allen Weisselberg to start his five month sentence at Rikers Island
On top of agreeing to a stint at Rikers — which is expected to last no longer than 100 days with good behavior — Weisselberg was also required to pay nearly $2 million in restitution and fines, withdraw all defense motions filed on his behalf, and waive any appeals when he pleaded out. Without the deal, Weisselberg faced a sentence of five to 15 years in prison.
The convicted Trump Organization entities, Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp., are expected to be sentenced on Friday.
They face around $1 million in fines, representing a fraction of the legal bills for the half a dozen lawyers who defended the case.
Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS & Michael M. Santiago / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP