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Weisselberg Perjury Negotiations Causes Judge to Hit the Brakes on Fraud Trial Ruling

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Allen Weisselberg, the former longtime CFO of the Trump Organization,
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Allen Weisselberg is in the middle of negotiations with Manhattan prosecutors to plead guilty to perjury. People lie all the time. What makes him special is that he is the former CFO of the Trump Organization.

The deal would require Weisselberg to admit that he was not truthful while testifying at Trump’s recent civil fraud trial and in an earlier interview with the New York attorney general’s office, sources say.

The reported deal follows a long pressure campaign by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Bragg’s team sought Weisselberg’s cooperation in several investigations into Trump’s business and alleged election crimes. 

The former POTUS will stand trial in Manhattan in March in the 2016 hush-money case. The deal will most likely not require Weisselberg to “turn on his former boss.” Prosecutors are not expected to call him as a witness in the hush-money case. Also, the investigation into Trump’s finances does not take precedence for prosecutors anymore.

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However, the potential deal is likely to strengthen Bragg’s hand. This is because it could deter other witnesses from lying on the witness stand. It could also discredit Weisselberg, who has disputed prosecutors’ evidence relating to the hush-money case.

Weisselberg previously pleaded guilty to a yearslong tax fraud scheme which resulted in him spending about 100 days in jail on Rikers Island. Bragg’s office has threatened to bring additional charges against Weisselberg. If the two sides don’t reach a consensus, the accountant could face indictment. 

As it stands, it is unclear whether Weisselberg would plead guilty to a felony or misdemeanor or what his sentence could be. There is also confusion about which statement brought about the perjury allegation.

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However, reports accuse Weisselberg of lying under oath about the Trump Tower triplex apartment. It is 10,996 square feet, but for years on financial statements, it was 30,000 square feet.

In his testimony, Weisselberg said that he “never focused” on the unit. But a Forbes article showed that Weisselberg “played a key role in trying to convince Forbes over the course of several years” of the apartment’s value.

Weisselberg was abruptly pulled from the stand after the article was published. The reported deal comes amid a reported delay in the ruling in Trump’s fraud trial. 

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Judge Arthur Engoron will issue a decision before mid-February. It is unclear what caused the delay, which came after a court-appointed monitor flagged a potentially fake $48 million loan. However, some legal experts believe it could have something to do with the Weisselberg negotiations.

“Why has Judge Engoron not issued his decision on the Trump civil fraud? One reason could well be the news that the Trump chief financial officer may be pleading to lying to Judge Engoron in a way to help Trump,” former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann wrote on X. 

According to him, it is possible that the “Judge is waiting for that to support his decision against DJT. This [would] be another big nail in the Trump civil fraud coffin.” CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, another former federal prosecutor, also thinks that the deal may have gotten Engoron to slow things down.

“If I’m in Judge Engoron’s position here, and getting ready to issue a big verdict and ruling, and now I’ve heard this , and we’ve all heard it, that one of the key witnesses committed perjury in front of me — I slam on the brakes and say, ‘I’m not going to rule until I know the specifics of this,’” he said.

“If you’re going to issue a ruling and it turns out Weisselberg lied, that’s going to harm the Trump Organization when it comes time for the verdict,” Honig said. 

He also added that the plea deal and delay are a “problem for Donald Trump because he’s going to be on the receiving end of this verdict.”

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Honig also cited a report that claims Weisselberg’s $2 million severance package from the Trump Organization “required him not to cooperate with any law enforcement unless he was legally required.”

“That was stunning to me,” he said. “I’ve never heard of such a thing! I don’t think that’s enforceable to say you won’t cooperate with law enforcement. I mean, it certainly undermines what prosecutors are trying to do.” Experts believe this development will most likely affect Trump’s upcoming Manhattan trial.

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