Allen Weisselberg, executive director of the Trump Organization, is sentenced to five months in prison

Weisselberg told jurors he betrayed the Trump family’s trust by conspiring with a subordinate to hide more than a decade’s worth of extras from his income, including a free Manhattan apartment, luxury cars and his grandchildren’s private school tuition . He said they forged pay slips and issued fake W-2 forms.

Donald Trump with son Donald jnr in 2017.

Donald Trump with son Donald jnr in 2017.Credit:AP

A Manhattan jury convicted the Trump Organization in December, finding that Weisselberg had been a “senior” agent assigned to act on behalf of the company and its various entities. Weisselberg’s arrangement reduced his own personal income taxes, but also saved money for the company by not having to pay him more to cover the cost of the perks.

Prosecutors said other Trump Organization executives also accepted unscheduled compensation. Weißelberg alone has been accused of defrauding the federal, state and city of more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and unearned tax refunds.

The Trump Organization is scheduled to be convicted on Friday and face a fine of up to $1.6 million.

Weisselberg testified that neither Trump nor his family knew about the plan while it was happening, and choked as he told the jury, “It was my personal greed that led to it.”

But prosecutors said in their closing arguments that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” and that evidence, such as a lease he signed for Weisselberg’s apartment, made it clear “Mr. Trump specifically sanctions tax fraud.”

A Trump Organization lawyer, Michael van der Veen, said Weisselberg hatched the plan without the knowledge of Trump or the Trump family.

Weisselberg said the Trumps have remained loyal to him even as the company struggled to end some of its dubious wage practices following Trump’s 2016 election. He said Trump’s eldest sons, who have been trusted to run the company while Trump was president, gave him a $200,000 pay rise after an internal audit found he had cut his salary and bonuses to reflect the cost of the perks .

Although he is now on furlough, the company continues to pay Weisselberg a $640,000 salary and $500,000 in vacation pay. It fined him only nominally after his arrest in July 2021, reassigned him to senior counsel and relocated his office.

He even celebrated his 75th birthday at Trump Tower with cake and colleagues in August, just hours after he finalized the settlement agreement that began his transformation from loyal executive to prosecution witness.

Rikers Island, a cluster of 10 jails on a promontory in the East River just off the main runway at Queens’ LaGuardia Airport, has been plagued by violence, inmate deaths and dire staff shortages in recent years.

Though only five miles from Trump Tower, it’s a true world away from the luxury living Weisselberg wanted to build — a far cry from the gilded offices on Fifth Avenue where he hatched his property and the apartment overlooking the Hudson River, which he reaped as a reward.

AP

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https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/trump-executive-allen-weisselberg-gets-5-month-jail-sentence-20230111-p5cbp7.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Allen Weisselberg, executive director of the Trump Organization, is sentenced to five months in prison

Callan Tansill

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