Former Trump exec Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty to perjury

Politics

Former Trump Organization Finance Chief Allen Weisselberg attends a hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court on March 04, 2024 in New York City. 

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty Monday to perjury charges related to his testimony in the New York civil fraud trial of Donald Trump and his company.

Appearing in Manhattan criminal court in handcuffs and a face mask, the 76-year-old Weisselberg pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury in the first degree. He was initially charged with five counts.

The Manhattan district attorney recommended that a judge sentence Weisselberg to five months in jail. The D.A. agreed to allow Weisselberg’s release ahead of his April 10 sentencing.

If Weisselberg violates his release conditions, his sentence could be enhanced to up to seven years in prison, NBC News reported.

“It is a crime to lie in depositions and at trial – plain and simple,” a spokesperson for the D.A.’s office said in a statement later Monday morning.

Weisselberg “looks forward to putting this situation behind him,” his attorney, Seth Rosenberg, said in a statement.

The charges accuse Weisselberg of lying in a deposition and in later testimony in the Trump business fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg appears for a hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, March 4, 2024.

Curis Means | Getty Images

James’ lawsuit alleged Trump, his adult sons, his company and its top executives fraudulently misstated Trump’s asset values on years of business records in order to boost Trump’s net worth and obtain other financial perks.

After his October trial testimony, Forbes magazine accused Weisselberg of lying under oath when he suggested he had not paid attention to the valuation of Trump’s penthouse apartment.

By pleading guilty Monday, Weisselberg admitted to two counts of lying about the size of Trump’s triplex apartment during a 2020 investigative deposition, according to the D.A.’s office.

As part of his plea agreement, Weisselberg also admitted conduct related to three other perjury counts, centering on false statements he made in a May 2023 deposition and in his trial testimony.

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,” read Monday’s statement from the D.A.’s office.

“Today, Allen Weisselberg is pleading guilty to this felony and being held responsible for his conduct.”

Weisselberg has already pleaded guilty once in connection with his work for the Trump Organization. He was sentenced to five months in jail in New York after pleading guilty to tax fraud charges brought by the Manhattan DA’s office. He was released from the notorious Rikers Island jail in April 2023 after three months behind bars.

The New York Times reported in early February that Weisselberg was in negotiations to plead guilty to lying on the witness stand in the fraud trial.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron, who presided over that trial, ordered attorneys in the case to provide details related to the Times’ report. A defense attorney responded that the judge’s request was “unprecedented, inappropriate and troubling.”

Trump is appealing Engoron’s judgment ordering the former president to pay more than $454 million in fines and interest for submitting fraudulent information about his asset values on years of financial records. Trump’s post-judgment interest will accrue by nearly $112,000 a day until it is paid.

Trump is fighting well over half a billion dollars in legal penalties as he campaigns for another term in the White House.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung in a statement accused Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg of waging “a crusade of vindictive and oppressive pressure” in his “pursuit” of Trump.

Bragg is prosecuting Trump on charges of falsifying business records related to hush money payments made to women who say they had affairs with Trump. That case is set to head to trial on March 25.

Read original source here.

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