By MICHAEL R. SISAK
NEW YORK (AP) — A top executive at former President Donald Trump’s family business pleaded guilty Thursday to evading taxes in a deal that could potentially make him a star witness against the company at a trial this fall.
Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to all 15 of the charges he faced in the case.
In a low, somewhat hoarse voice, he admitted taking in over $1.7 million worth of untaxed perks — including school tuition for his grandchildren, free rent for a Manhattan apartment and lease payments for a luxury car — and explicitly keeping some of the plums off the books.
Judge Juan Manuel Merchan agreed to sentence Weisselberg to five months in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, although he will be eligible for release much earlier if he behaves well behind bars. The judge said Weisselberg will have to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest and complete five years of probation.
The plea bargain also requires Weisselberg to testify truthfully as a prosecution witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related charges. The company is accused of helping Weisselberg and other executives avoid income taxes by failing to report their full compensation accurately to the government. Trump himself is not charged in the case.