The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s civil fraud case — set to issue a potentially earth-shattering verdict against him any day — wants to know if it’s true that the former president’s longtime finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, is preparing to admit he lied on the stand.
In an email included in court documents filed Tuesday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron cited a story first reported by The New York Times last week claiming that the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer is in talks with the Manhattan district attorney to plead guilty to perjuring himself at the New York attorney general’s civil fraud trial.
Trump’s low-profile money man, who served as the family’s financial sentry for almost a half-century and is accused alongside him and three others in the AG case, testified during the trial that the price of Trump’s triplex on Fifth Ave. was not his concern as CFO, distancing himself from its bogus valuation. For years, Trump and his execs recorded it as three times its actual size — illegally bloating its value — as they sought lucrative loan terms, the judge found before the trial started.
Weisselberg’s testimony came to a halt when the AG notified the court of potential omissions following a bombshell Forbes report claiming he was lying, which cited a “review of old emails and notes, some of which the attorney general’s office does not possess, [showing] that Weisselberg absolutely thought about Trump’s apartment — and played a key role in trying to convince Forbes over the course of several years that it was worth more than it really was.”
Engoron, in his Monday email, asked the parties to expand on The Times report, which said District Attorney Alvin Bragg was negotiating a new guilty plea with the ex-CFO months after the perjury allegations.
“[…] I of course want to know whether Mr. Weisselberg is now changing his tune, and whether he is admitting he lied under oath in my courtroom at this trial. Although the Times article focuses on the size of the Trump Tower Penthouse, his testimony on other topics could also be called into question,” Engoron wrote.
“As the article notes ‘perjury — particularly in a high-profile trial — undermines the broader ends of justice and cannot be ignored.’ I do not want to ignore anything in a case of this magnitude.”
The judge told Trump’s lawyers and attorneys at the AG’s office to apprise him by 5 p.m. Wednesday of “anything you know about this” and how he should address it ahead of his pending verdict on six claims against Trump, Weisselberg, former Trump Org controller Jeff McConney, and Trump’s sons, Eric and Don Jr.
Engoron is set to decide whether Trump and his crew are liable for multiple conspiracy counts, insurance fraud, and other offenses in the case alleging they schemed to screw over banks, lenders, and other financial institutions for years to boost Trump’s bottom line. His pretrial ruling found that the annual statements central to the case, submitted mainly in loan applications, were fraudulent; the remaining claims concern Trump and his associates’ intent and the methods employed.
Attorney General Letitia James has asked Engoron to order Trump and company to pay back at least $370 million in illegal gains and to permanently bar the GOP front-runner for president, Weisselberg and McConney, from New York’s real estate industry. She wants the Trump sons barred for five years. Trump is appealing the pretrial verdict, whose implications are on ice in the meantime.
A spokeswoman for Bragg declined to comment, as did the AG’s office. Attorneys for Weisselberg and Trump did not immediately respond to The News’ inquiries.
The development adds to the 76-year-old Weisselberg’s unending list of legal woes, having ended his decades-long run working for the Trump family as a witness against the company at its tax fraud trial, a felony conviction, and a stint behind bars.
Bragg’s office secured his felony conviction on tax fraud charges for reaping off-the-books benefits while head of the Trump Org’s coffers in a separate case in 2022, leading to a 99-day jail term on Rikers.
The News reported last year that the CFO was pressured after his guilty plea to admit to more criminal wrongdoing as the DA’s office continued to investigate Trump and that during those negotiations, the Trump Org abruptly made him switch out his legal defense, fearing his attorney, Nick Gravante, was putting his interests over the ex-president’s.
In his testimony at the AG trial, Weisselberg said the company gave him a $2 million severance package on his way into Rikers, to be doled out in installments. The agreement required that he not cooperate with authorities unless forced to.
The Times story said Weisselberg’s tentative new plea agreement is unlikely to require he testify in the criminal case the DA ultimately brought against Trump, which concerns the 2016 hush money scheme. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felonies in the case headed to trial next month.
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