NEW YORK — Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, is in plea talks with state prosecutors to resolve tax fraud charges and avoid an October trial, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were charged last year, accused of conspiring to avoid income taxes by giving some employees perks that weren’t reported to state tax authorities. Weisselberg, 75, was accused of being the main beneficiary, receiving more than $1.7 million in benefits including a free Manhattan luxury apartment and Mercedes-Benz cars for both him and his wife.
At an Aug. 12 hearing, New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan rejected requests from the company and Weisselberg to dismiss the charges and ordered both to trial beginning Oct. 24.
Weisselberg’s lawyers met with prosecutors on Monday to discuss a resolution ahead of the trial, said the people who weren’t authorized to speak because the matter isn’t public. The New York Times reported the plea talks earlier.
If Weisselberg’s plea goes forward, it would still leave former president Donald Trump’s company facing the tax fraud case alone. The trial could be underway during the November midterm elections and is one of several legal threats facing Trump.
The Justice Department is investigating Trump over confidential documents that were recovered last week from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Floriday. The former president was also questioned under oath last week in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s civil investigation of possible fraud in his real estate valuations. He declined to answer the questions, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Monday’s conference appeared on a New York court database. Another hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, records show.
Trump’s lawyer Nicholas Gravante, Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, all declined to comment on the plea talks. Mary Mulligan, another lawyer for Weisselberg, didn’t return email or voicemail messages seeking comment.
The case is: The People of the State of New York v. The Trump Organization 1473/2021, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).©2022 Bloomberg L.P. Visit bloomberg.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.