Ex-Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg Pleads Guilty to Perjury in Fraud Case

Former Trump Organization Finance Chief Allen Weisselberg appears for a hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court on March 4, 2024, in New York City. (Curtis Means/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

NEW YORK (New York Daily News/TNS) — Donald Trump’s former finance chief Allen Weisselberg copped to new criminal charges in a lower Manhattan courtroom on Monday — admitting he told lies to the New York attorney general concerning what he knew about the actual size of Trump’s Fifth Avenue penthouse, and when.

In the latest legal setback for the former president’s loyal longtime moneyman, the already-convicted Weisselberg pleaded guilty to two first-degree perjury counts at a brief Manhattan Criminal Court hearing stemming from his testimony in the AG’s investigation into Trump’s real estate empire.

That case recently culminated in staggering judgments against Trump and his company execs, including Weisselberg, totaling nearly half a billion dollars.

Prosecutors at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office charged the Trump Organization’s retired chief financial officer with five counts and, in a plea deal, allowed him to plead guilty to two. They requested he serve another term of five months in jail when he returns to court on April 10.

Weisselberg, who handled the Trump family’s company finances for almost half a century after his hiring as a bookkeeper by Donald Trump’s father, Fred, in the 1970s, ignored a question from the Daily News after the hearing. In a statement, his lawyer, Seth Rosenberg, said he “looks forward to putting this situation behind him.”

The 79-year-old Weisselberg served almost 100 days in jail last year after pleading guilty to criminal tax fraud charges brought by the Manhattan DA related to his work at the Trump Organization. That was separate from both the new perjury case and the AG’s civil fraud lawsuit, in which Trump, his sons Eric and Don Jr, Weisselberg, and former Trump Org controller Jeff McConney were recently found liable for falsely inflating Trump’s net worth by billions and ordered to pay New York state at least $464 million, including interest.

Trump is on the hook for most of the mammoth judgment, which he must secure with the court by March 25 as he appeals despite his efforts to shave it down.

As part of his financially crushing Feb. 16 ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron barred Weisselberg from ever handling a company’s finances again and ordered him to pay back half of the $2 million severance he received from the Trump Organization on his way into jail.

“The Trump Organization keeps Weisselberg on a short leash, and it shows,” Engoron wrote, describing the CFO as “a critical player in nearly every instance of fraud” who shouldn’t be compensated for covering up misdeeds.

The CFO’s testimony at the fraud trial was stopped when the AG lawyers notified Engoron of potential omissions. On Monday, he admitted to Judge Laurie Peterson that he lied during the trial and multiple other junctures during the AG’s years-long Trump probe. His plea stemmed from a deposition on Jul. 17, 2020, concerning the value of the Trump Tower triplex, which evidence showed was falsely recorded as three times its size in business deals — ballooning its value by more than $200 million.

During the deposition, Weisselberg claimed that his deputy, McConney, was responsible for the bogus square footage recorded between 2012 and 2017. He said he didn’t become aware of it until a May 2017 investigation published in Forbes that revealed the triplex was a third of the size Trump claimed.

However, emails between Forbes reporters and Trump Org employees, including Weisselberg, directly contradicted his testimony, according to Assistant District Attorney Gary Fishman. A recording of Trump and Forbes reporters at the triplex in 2015, when Trump said the triplex was 33,000 square feet in front of Weisselberg, further belied his claim that he’d never heard Trump describe the triplex’s size.

The CFO also admitted without pleading guilty that in May 2023, after the AG had filed the case, he lied in a deposition about his role in tallying asset values.

“I didn’t delve into the numbers,” Weisselberg testified at the time. “I relied on their numbers and whatever analysis they did.”

In fact, Weisselberg was “significantly involved in determining what methodology and numbers were used to value properties,” according to Monday’s complaint, which says testimony by other Trump Org employees and his sworn depositions in 2020 and 2008 directly contradicted his claims.

When he took the stand in October, Weisselberg claimed he “never focused on the triplex, to be honest with you.” Prosecutors said that contradicted more emails among Trump Org staffers and old notes taken by Forbes reporters.

“It is a crime to lie in depositions and at trial – plain and simple,” a Bragg spokeswoman said in a statement. “Allen Weisselberg took an oath to be truthful, and then committed perjury both at depositions during the New York State Attorney General’s investigation and proceeding, as well as at their recent trial.”

Weisselberg’s plea agreement saved him from a potentially hefty prison term by allowing him to plead guilty to crimes that occurred before his 2022 conviction on 15 tax fraud counts for reaping off-the-books benefits at work. Pleading guilty to perjuring himself at the 2023 trial could have classified him as a repeat felony offender in violation of his parole.

Unlike under his plea deal in the tax fraud case, which required he testify against the company at its trial, there is nothing in Weisselberg’s Monday agreement indicating he must testify at Trump’s criminal trial beginning March 25 in the case involving Trump paying to suppress information which would be detrimental to his campaign. The CFO received partial immunity to testify about the scheme in a 2018 federal grand jury investigation that led to ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s conviction.

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