Ex-Trump Organization CFO to spend five months in jail after pleading guilty to perjury

Allen Weisselberg arrived at office of Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg early on Monday morning and duly appeared in court for processing, where he was charged with five counts of perjury in the first degree

Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 07 March 2024 13:40 GMT
Related: Donald Trump ordered to pay more than $355m in massive fraud trial ruling

Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of Donald Trump’s Trump Organization, pleaded guilty to perjury charges on Monday over the testimony he gave to investigators examining the real estate company’s finances.

Weisselberg, 76, arrived at the office of Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg early on Monday morning, CNN reported, after which he duly surrendered and appeared at Manhattan Criminal Court for processing wearing a Covid mask and handcuffs.

The defendant was then charged with five counts of perjury in the first degree, with the judge accepting that the plea deal he had agreed with Manhattan prosecutors, which saw him plead guilty to two of those five counts.

He will be sentenced to five months in jail under the terms of the plea deal, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 10 April.

The former executive has been engaged in plea talks with prosecutors for several weeks but neither he nor his lawyer Seth Rosenberg have yet commented on Monday’s developments.

The final agreement with Mr Bragg’s office required Weisselberg’s admission that he lied during his testimony to investigators in a deposition last May and in his October interviews with the office of New York attorney general Letitia James regarding his former employer’s business practices.

Weisselberg is not now expected to turn on Mr Trump or be called as a witness against him in the latter’s upcoming criminal case, which was brought against him by Mr Bragg and is scheduled to begin on Monday 25 March.

The district attorney indicted Mr Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, a year ago on 34 charges related to the falsification of business records to conceal “hush money” payments made on his behalf to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election in order to secure her silence about an extramarital affair they are alleged to have had a decade earlier.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty.

In a second New York case related to the Trump Organization, Judge Arthur Engoron last month ordered Mr Trump and his associates to pay more than $454m in financial penalties and interest to the state of New York after they were found guilty of misrepresenting the value of company assets between 2011 and 2021 to secure favourable terms from city banks and insurers in a case brought by Ms James.

Mr Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in that case too and has appealed against the verdict, complaining without evidence that he is the victim of a conspiracy to prevent his return to the White House – even comparing his plight to that of the late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

Prior to issuing his ruling in that case, Judge Engoron appealed for information regarding the possibility of Weisselberg admitting to perjury after his plea negotiations were reported by The New York Times, provoking an angry row with Mr Trump’s lawyers in which the justice told attorneys Chris Kise and Alina Habba: “You and your co-counsel have been questioning my impartiality since the early days of this case, presumably because I sometimes rule against your clients. That whole approach is getting old.”

Weisselberg’s latest plea deal follows his 2022 conviction on 15 violations of New York tax law, after prosecutors accused him of participating in a years-long “systemic” fraud scheme.

That case involved a “sweeping and audacious illegal payment” arrangement in which Trump companies paid him generous benefits – including free rent, luxury car leases and private school tuition for his grandchildren – that were not reported for tax purposes.

Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in prison for that offence and spent around 100 days in Rikers Island jail before being released under supervision last April.

This article was amended on 7 March 2024. It originally stated that Weisselberg had been sentenced to five months in jail. But while the term was agreed as part of the deal, he will not be formally sentenced until 10 April.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in