Donald Trump continues to vociferously defend his former employee and longtime friend Allen Weisselberg, downplaying a conviction on tax evasion on $1.76 million in benefits by comparing it to the crime in New York.
Weisselberg was viewed as the pivotal legal piece leveraged by prosecutors to ultimately charge two entities of the Trump Organization with 17 counts of tax fraud, including conspiracy charges and falsifying business records.
Weisselberg testified that he concealed payments the Trump Organization made on his luxury apartment, car and other personal expenses in an effort to reduce his own taxes. He was sentenced to five months in prison after pleading guilty to 15 charges in August.
“I’ve got a 75 year old man, who has NEVER been in trouble before, sitting in PRISON over not paying a small tax on the use of a company apartment, a company car, or his grandchildrens education, etc., while drug dealers & murderers freely roam the sidewalks of New York, with nothing being done to stop them,” Trump wrote Monday on Truth Social.
He then blamed the “Radical Left Democrats” for putting Weisselberg behind bars, writing, “90 days in jail, or 10 years (life!), depending on what you say about ‘Trump.’ Our Country is going to Hell!”
Earlier this month, the Trump Organization was ordered to pay $1.6 million in fines stemming from a 15-year tax fraud scheme—the maximum penalty allowed under New York’s tax and penal laws.
Following the announcement of penalties incurred by the Trump Organization, a spokesperson for the company told Newsweek that Trump, Weisselberg and the business entity were all “victims.”
“[Weisselberg] was threatened, intimidated and terrorized,” the spokesperson said. “He was given a choice of pleading guilty and serving 90 days in prison or serving the rest of his life in jail—all of this over a corporate car and standard employee benefits.
“New York has become the crime and murder capital of the world, yet these politically motivated prosecutors will stop at nothing to get President Trump and continue the never-ending witch hunt which began the day he announced his presidency.”
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner shared a different perspective on Weisselberg’s role, referring to him as the “fall guy” who followed Trump’s lead and is now paying the ultimate price.
Weisselberg was compared by Kirschner to Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen.
“Everyone around Donald Trump, his fall guys, his foot soldiers, are paying for their crimes that they committed with him, for him, at his direction, in a conspiracy with him, some of them,” Kirschner said.
However, Weisselberg maintains his loyalty to Trump, his family and the organization.
“Mr. Weisselberg also regrets the harm his actions have caused to the Trump Organization and members of the Trump family,” Weisselberg’s attorney, Nicholas Gravante, said in a statement following his client’s sentencing. “He is grateful to them for their continued support throughout this difficult chapter of his life.”