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Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was sentenced to 5 months in prison

Weisselberg, former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, attends the judgment hearing in Manhattan Courthouse (January 10, 2023)
Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, attends the judgment hearing in Manhattan Courthouse (January 10, 2023)

Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was detained Tuesday to begin serving a five-month prison sentence for evading taxes over $1.7 million in employment subsidies. The judge said the penalty may be too light for a case “driven entirely by greed.”

Weisselberg, 75, agreed in August to plead guilty to 15 counts of tax crimes and served as a witness against the Trump Organization in exchange for a short sentence. His testimony helped convict the Trump Organization, of which he served as a chief financial officer, of tax fraud.

But Judge Juan Manuel Merchan formally delivered his sentence Tuesday and said he regretted not being harsher after hearing testimony at the trial. He said he was particularly shocked by Mr. Weisselberg’s testimony that he gave his wife a $6,000 check to enable her to claim Social Security benefits.

Merchen said that if he had not promised a five-month sentence, “I would have imposed a longer sentence than that.”

Weisselberg was handcuffed and taken away by bailiffs after the sentencing was pronounced. If he behaves well in prison, he is released after three months and months.

His lawyer, Nicholas Gravante, said Weisselberg and the Trump Organization “broke up amicably.”

Under the plea deal, Weisselberg had to pay nearly $2 million in taxes owed, penalties and interest. Judge Merchen also asked Weisselberg to serve five years of probation after his release from prison.

Gravant asked for a commutation of his sentence, citing Weisselberg’s age and ill health.

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Weisselberg could be sentenced to 15 years in prison if he did not agree to the commutation agreement or failed to provide truthful testimony in the Trump Organization trial. He is the only accused in a three-year investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney into Trump and his business practices.

Weisselberg testified for three days, providing information on the inner workings of Trump’s real estate empire. He worked for the Trump family for nearly 50 years, following Trump in 1986 to help expand the company into a global golf and hospitality brand.

A Manhattan judge convicted the Trump Organization in December, finding that Weisselberg was acting for “senior management” on behalf of the company and various entities. Weisselberg’s arrangement reduced his personal income tax, but it also saved the company money by not having to pay more for subsidies.

The Trump Organization plans to be sentenced Friday, possibly fined $1.6 million.

(This article is based on an Associated Press report.)

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