Former Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg sentenced to five months in prison

A key business executive for Donald Trump's empire has been jailed for five months for dodging taxes.

The 75-year-old was found guilty of not paying taxes on $1.7m (£1.4m) in job perks, along with 15 other tax crimes that he admitted to in August 2021.

Evidence from Weisselberg helped convict the former US president's firm of tax fraud.

As part of a plea agreement, he also agreed to stand as a witness against the Trump Organization, having worked there since the mid-1980s and served as chief financial officer.

On Tuesday, judge Juan Manuel Merchan said that after listening to Weisselberg's evidence during the trial, he regrets the penalty was not tougher.

Evidence that Weisselberg gave his wife a $6,000 (£4,934) cheque for a no-show job, so she could qualify for social security benefits, was especially appalling to Mr Merchan, who said that he would be imposing a "stiffer sentence" if he had not already promised to give Weisselberg five months behind bars.

In July last year, a statement released by Weisselberg's lawyers said that he would "fight charges in court", but now he is expected to be taken to New York City's notorious Rikers Island jail complex, located just five miles from Trump Tower.

As part of the plea agreement, Weisselberg has paid pay nearly $2m (£1.64m) in back taxes, penalties and interest. He will additionally have to complete five years of probation after his jail term is finished.

In just over three months, he will be eligible for release, depending on good behaviour.

Weisselberg remains the only person charged in the Manhattan district attorney's three-year investigation of Mr Trump and his business practices.

He said in evidence that neither Mr Trump nor his family knew about the scheme as it was happening, choking up as he told jurors: "It was my own personal greed that led to this."

But prosecutors said Mr Trump "knew exactly what was going on" and evidence, such as a lease he signed for Weisselberg's Manhattan apartment, made it clear "Mr Trump is explicitly sanctioning tax fraud".

The Trump Organization is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday and faces a fine of up to $1.6m (£1.32m). Prosecutors said other Trump Organization executives also accepted off-the-books compensation.

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Mr Trump faces many other legal battles as his critics fear he is considering running for office again in 2024.

The former US president has been named in a wrongful death lawsuit along with two men convicted in connection with the assault on Officer Brian Sicknick who was assaulted during the 6 January 2021 US Capitol riot, filed by his partner and his estate.