A legal analyst said the Trump Organization would be devastated if its former CFO pleaded guilty this week.
The NYT reports that Alan Wesselberg will take a plea deal with the Manhattan DA’s office.
Former prosecutor Adam Weissman said Donald Trump’s financial consequences are “enormous.”
A former top federal prosecutor said Tuesday that a guilty plea by the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer in a criminal tax case would spell financial disaster for former President Donald Trump and his family business.
The New York Times reported that Alan Wesselberg, a longtime top Trump Organization executive, is expected to plead guilty in a deal reached Thursday with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
He and the Trump Organization face 15 felony counts, including one count each of fraud, conspiracy, and grand larceny scheme. Prosecutors said the charges stemmed from a “clear and brazen payment scheme” in which Wesselberg avoided paying taxes on up to $1.7 million of his income beginning in March 2005.
The Times reported that Wesselberg’s deal would see him serve five months in prison, up from a minimum sentence of one year if he is found guilty in court.
Andrew Weissman, a New York University law professor and former lead prosecutor under Robert Mueller, said on MSNBC’s “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell, “Once Alan Wesselberg pleaded guilty, taken, so it’s over for the Trump Organization.”
He said the Trump Organization would be held responsible for crimes committed by Wesselberg, meaning the company would also be held liable for the charges.
The Trump Organization is scheduled to go on trial on October 24. If Wesselberg doesn’t take a plea deal and goes to court, he will face a lawsuit along with the business group. Both he and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty.
“So taking advantage of Donald Trump in terms of financial consequences doesn’t mean he’s going to go to jail, but the consequences for the Trump Organization are huge,” Weissman said.
“Remember, for people who think that Donald Trump did this for some money, that they’re outraged, that’s a big deal,” he added.
Weissman said that if he was advising Trump on how to deal with the list of investigations and cases against him, he would prefer to deal with the outcome of Wesselberg’s plea agreement.
Trump currently faces six lawsuits, three criminal investigations, and a civil investigation on top of the indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He has also filed two lawsuits – one against his niece Mary Trump, and the other against his former election rival Hillary Clinton.
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