A long-time senior executive at Donald Trump’s family business has pleaded guilty to conspiring with the company in a 15-year tax fraud.
Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer at the Trump Organization, entered his plea in a New York state court in Manhattan.
The 75-year-old may now be required to testify against the company, which is also a defendant, at a criminal trial scheduled for October.
Weisselberg has worked for Mr Trump for about half a century. He gave up the chief financial officer job after he and the Trump Organization were charged, but remains on the former president’s payroll as a senior adviser.
Weisselberg is not expected to cooperate with Manhattan prosecutors in their larger probe into Mr Trump himself, a person familiar with the matter said.
The former US president has not been charged or accused of wrongdoing.
Despite Weisselberg’s refusal to cooperate, his plea will likely strengthen prosecutors’ case against Mr Trump’s company, which has pleaded not guilty.
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The defendants were indicted in July 2021 on charges of scheming to defraud, tax fraud and falsifying business records, where some executives were paid “off-the-books”.
Prosecutors said Weisselberg concealed and avoided taxes on $1.76m (£1.47m) of income including rent for a Manhattan apartment, lease payments for two Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and tuition for family members.
The tuition checks were signed by Mr Trump.
Weisselberg will likely be sentenced to five months in jail and get five years of probation. The jail sentence would begin after the Trump Organization’s trial concludes.
Weisselberg could be freed after about 100 days, another person familiar with the matter said. The jail term would be far shorter than what he could have faced if, rather than plead guilty, he were convicted after a trial.
The charges he faced include many of the same ones levelled at the Trump Organization, which could face fines and other penalties if convicted at trial.
The Trump Organization manages golf clubs, hotels, and other real estate around the world.
The indictment arose from an investigation by former Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, but lost steam after Alvin Bragg became district attorney in January.
Two prosecutors who had been leading the investigation resigned in February, with one saying felony charges should be brought against Mr Trump, but that Mr Bragg indicated he had doubts.
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Mr Trump faces many other legal battles as his critics fear he is considering running for office again in 2024.
Last week, FBI agents searched the former US president’s Florida estate for classified and other documents from his time in the White House.
Two days later, Trump was deposed in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil probe into his business.
He repeatedly refused to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment US Constitutional right against self-incrimination.