A recent report from The New York Times revealed that Allen Weisselberg, the former CFO of the Trump Organization, is considering a plea deal for perjury, leaving Judge Arthur Engoron, presiding over the fraud trial, understandably perturbed.
The judge’s frustration was palpable as he demanded clarity from the defense and prosecution regarding this unexpected development. In an email uploaded to the trial’s public docket, Judge Engoron expressed his displeasure at being blindsided by news of Weisselberg’s potential plea deal.
“Dear Counselors,” he began, “As you are undoubtedly aware, in an article in the February 1, 2024 online edition of the New York Times… William K. Rashbaum, Jonah E. Bromwich, and Ben Protess write that defendant Alan Weisselberg ‘is negotiating a deal with Manhattan prosecutors that would require him to plead guilty to perjury.'”
The revelation raises serious concerns about the integrity of the trial, especially considering Weisselberg’s role as a critical witness. His testimony regarding the alleged fraud perpetrated by the Trump Organization has come under scrutiny, particularly concerning the valuation of Trump’s penthouse.
Weisselberg testified that the tripling of Trump’s penthouse size in financial records was a minor error, a claim challenged by Forbes magazine. Judge Engoron, citing the Times report, emphasized the potential ramifications of Weisselberg’s admission of perjury, questioning its impact on the trial’s credibility.
Judge Engoron, describing the state of the trials at that point, used some Latin phrases to explain his ideas. Would the admission be a “falsus in uno?” about the Latin word “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus—” which means false in one, false in everything.
“I, of course, want to know whether Mr. Weisselberg is now changing his tune and admitting he lied under oath in my courtroom at this trial.” Judge Engoron added, “Although the Times article focuses on the size of the Trump Tower Penthouse, his testimony on other topics could also be called into question.”
Judge Engoron demanded answers from both sides, urging them to disclose any information pertinent to Weisselberg’s plea deal. He emphasized his role as the trial’s presiding magistrate and underscored the importance of maintaining the trial’s integrity.
The news comes amidst a flurry of legal challenges former President Donald Trump is facing, including multiple criminal charges and civil fraud allegations. Despite facing mounting legal pressure, Trump continues to assert his innocence while his once-loyal allies distance themselves from his legal woes.
Engoron gave the parties until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to submit a letter detailing “anything you know about this that would not violate any of your professional ethics or obligations.”
“I would also appreciate knowing how you think I should address this matter, if at all, including the timing of the final decision,” he concludes the email.
The potential plea deal adds another layer of complexity to an already tumultuous legal battle. As Judge Engoron seeks clarity, the outcome of Weisselberg’s plea negotiations could have far-reaching implications for the trial and its verdict
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