Allen Weisselberg, the longtime Trump Organization chief financial officer who is currently serving a five-month prison sentence on tax fraud charges, could end up facing new criminal charges from Manhattan prosecutors who have renewed efforts to examine whether former president Donald Trump should face an indictment of his own.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty last year to tax fraud charges and later testified against the company where he has worked for most of his adult life. But at the same time, he has refused to give evidence against the former president, his longtime boss.
According to the New York Times, Weisselberg could find himself in legal jeopardy once more at the hands of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has revived a long-moribund investigation into payments Mr Trump’s eponymous company financed to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Mr Trump had an affair with Ms Daniels in the years before he ran for president in 2016, and his then-attorney, Michael Cohen, arranged for a $130,000 hush money payment to the actress to buy her silence in the closing weeks of that election cycle. Cohen later pleaded guilty to federal charges arising in part from the hush money scheme, but Mr Trump has not been charged despite Cohen’s in-court statements about having made the payments at Mr Trump’s direction.
Citing “people with knowledge of the matter,” the Times reported that Mr Bragg’s team is “using the prospect of additional charge” to “exert leverage” over the disgraced Trump Organization executive.
The charges being contemplated by the prosecutors include insurance fraud, which if successful would subject Weisselberg to a far longer prison sentence than the five months he agreed to as part of his plea agreement.
Mr Trump’s company is also facing a $250m civil lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has accused the Trump Organization of committing what she described as a “staggering” fraud scheme to obtain favourable loans and other benefits by overvaluing its’ assets.