NEW YORK (AP) – Donald Trump’s longtime finance director is likely to admit guilt as early after Thursday’s deadline in a tax-evasion case which is the only criminal case arising from an ongoing investigation into the former president’s business three people who are familiar with the case said to The Associated Press.
Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was scheduled to go on trial in October, based on claims that the company paid him over $1.7 million in compensation that was not recorded from the business, including rental, car payments, and tuition fees for school.
Prosecutors of the Manhattan district attorney’s office as well as Weisselberg’s legal team met this morning with the judge who is in charge of the case, Juan Manuel Merchan according to court documents. The judge scheduled hearings in the case to begin at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, but did not provide a reason for the hearing.
The individuals who spoke with the AP spoke on the condition of anonymity as they were not permitted to discuss the matter. They claimed that the goal of Thursday’s hearing was to allow Weisselberg to sign a guilty plea but warned that plea bargains can be shattered prior to being concluded before a judge.
Weisselberg’s attorney, Nicholas Gravante Jr. told The New York Times on Monday that Weisselberg has been involved in plea negotiations to settle the matter however, he did not provide details of a possible plea bargain. Contacted by the AP Gravante was not available to provide further details.
The Times, citing two persons who have knowledge of the situation reported that Weisselberg was likely to be given a prison sentence of five months and would be eligible for release after 100 days. The agreement would not need Weisselberg to give evidence or assist in any way in an ongoing criminal investigation of Trump’s business actions.
The company owned by Trump, the Trump Organization, is also accused in the case, however, it was not involved in plea bargaining discussions. Weisselberg as well as Trump’s company, the Trump Organization have pleaded not to be guilty.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office refused the request for comment. A request for comments was left with a lawyer representing Trump’s Organization. Trump Organization.
The announcement of Weisselberg’s plea negotiation was announced just only days before the judge turned down requests from his lawyers as well as his organization, the Trump Organization to throw out the case. The judge dropped one tax fraud charge against the firm, citing that the time limit for filing a tax return is over however, over a dozen additional cases remain.
In arguing for dismissal of the case, Weisselberg’s attorneys claimed that prosecutors from the Democratic-controlled prosecutorial office of the district attorney were penalizing him for not offering negative information about the former president.
Weisselberg who turned 75 last Monday is the sole Trump executive to be charged in the ten-year criminal probe initiated by the former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who appeared before the Supreme Court to secure Trump’s tax documents. Vance’s successor Alvin Bragg is now managing the investigation. Other Trump executives are granted immunity to testify in front of a grand jury in this investigation.
Prosecutors have claimed that Weisselberg as well as Trump Organization schemed to give unofficial compensation to executives including Weisselberg for a period of 15 years. Weisselberg is the only one accused of fraud involving both the Federal government and the state and city of more than $900,000.00 in tax owed and tax refunds undeserved.
The most serious accusation against Weisselberg is grand larceny was a crime that could lead to a sentence of 5 to fifteen years of prison. Tax fraud charges against the firm are punishable by a fine equal to the amount of tax owed or $250,000, depending on what is the greater amount.
Trump hasn’t been indicted for the criminal investigation however, prosecutors have pointed out that he was the signer of certain checks that were that are at the heart of the investigation. Trump has blasted his involvement in the New York investigations as a “political witch hunt” and has claimed that his business’s actions are standard procedure for the residential real estate sector and not an act of treason.
The week before, Trump sat for a deposition during New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil probe regarding allegations that Trump’s business misled taxpayers and lenders regarding the worth of assets. Trump used the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination over 400 times.
In the years following Weisselberg’s arrest investigation appeared to be progressing towards a possible criminal indictment against Trump himself, however, the investigation was slowed down, the grand jury was disbanded and a top prosecutor quit shortly after Bragg became president in January. However, Bragg insists on continuing the investigation.