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How cable TV pundits misread Trump’s legal troubles- POLITICO

CASE TYPE – Donald Trump has seen some of his advisors end up as convicted criminals, but none have been close to him for as long as Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, who today pleaded guilty to criminal tax fraud.

Weisselberg’s plea comes at a particularly awkward time as Trump faces new questions about the legality of his own conduct following last week’s FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home. But it also serves as another cautionary tale about the kind of overheated predictions of Trump’s legal demise that the Mar-a-Lago search has sparked again among political and legal observers.

Weisselberg admitted to engaging in a year-long program to avoid paying taxes on compensation and benefits he received from the Trump Organization. The Manhattan District Attorney indicted Weisselberg along with the Trump Organization last summer, but earlier this year the newly-elected prosecutor reportedly refused to authorize the indictment against Trump himself.

Weisselberg’s plea doesn’t resolve the case against the company, but it severely limits the ability of Trump’s eponymous company to avoid a conviction based on Weisselberg’s conduct. He is expected to serve a five-month sentence provided he testifies in court against the Trump Organization (although like Weisselberg, the company could also plead guilty to the charges).

The development is clearly bad news for Trump and his eponymous company, but it’s nowhere near as bad as many anti-Trump legal experts – including many of the same people now commenting on the outcome of the Mar-a-Lago – have predicted judge search and how bad it looks for Trump. A former US attorney who appears regularly on cable news claimed early last year that it was “would be easyfor the Manhattan Attorney’s Office to indict Trump on criminal fraud charges and that it is “almost certain” that Trump himself will be indicted.