Former Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail and five years of probation in a Manhattan state court Tuesday after pleading guilty to a tax fraud scheme, Politico reports. He repaid around $2 million in taxes he owed as part of the agreement. The punishment ends a three-month trial at which Weisselberg, once chief financial officer for the real estate firm founded by former President Trump, became the star witness in a separate case against the Trump Organization. Weisselberg's lawyer appealed to the judge for leniency, citing his client’s age, his cooperation with prosecutors and the publicity around the trial. Justice Juan Merchan, however, said were it not for the plea deal the 75-year-old had struck, he would have imposed a harsher punishment.
“I believe that a stiffer sentence would be appropriate, having heard the evidence,” Merchan said Tuesday, citing what he referred to as the greed behind Weisselberg’s actions. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg agreed to recommend a lower sentence in exchange for Weisselberg’s testimony in the case against the Trump company. Over three days on the stand in November, the executive detailed some of the accounting sleights of hand that allowed the Trump Organization to avoid taxes by paying its employees lower salaries and instead compensating them with luxury cars, free lodging and tuition for family members. Last month, a jury found the company guilty on all 17 counts. The firm is facing up to $1.6 million in fines and is set to be sentenced Friday. After uesday’s sentencing, Bragg touted the convictions in both cases, which he said exposed the inner workings of the Trump Organization. “In Manhattan, you have to play by the rules no matter who you are or who you work for,” he said.