Experts believe Trump CFO’s perjury caused judge to ‘put the brakes on’ fraud trial ruling

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Allen Weisselberg, the former longtime CFO of the Trump Organization, is negotiate an agreement with Manhattan prosecutors to plead guilty to perjury, according to The New York Times.

The deal would require Weisselberg admit he lied during his testimony at Trump’s recent civil fraud trial and in an earlier interview with the New York attorney general’s office, sources told the outlet.

The announced agreement comes after a long pressure campaign by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose team sought Weisselberg’s cooperation in several investigations into Trump’s business and alleged election crimes. Trump is scheduled to go on trial in Manhattan in March in the 2016 secrecy case.

The deal likely would not require Weisselberg to “turn on his former boss,” according to the report. Prosecutors are not expected to call him as a witness in the secrecy case and the investigation into Trump’s finances “may no longer be a priority for prosecutors,” the Times reported.

The potential deal is likely to strengthen Bragg’s hand, the report adds, because it could deter other witnesses from lying on the witness stand. And it could discredit Weisselberg, who has disputed prosecutors’ evidence in the secrecy case.

Weisselberg previously pleaded guilty to a years-long tax fraud scheme and spent about 100 days in jail at Rikers Island.

Bragg’s office threatened to file additional charges against the longtime accountant. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, Weisselberg could be charged, according to the report.

It is unclear whether Weisselberg would plead guilty to a felony or misdemeanor or what his sentence could be. It is also unclear which statement gave rise to the perjury allegation, although reports accuses Weisselberg of lying under oath about Trump’s Trump Tower triplex apartment, which measures 10,996 square feet but was listed for years in financial statements as 30,000 square feet.

Weisselberg testified that he “never focused” on unity, but that he Forbes article showed that Weisselberg “played a key role in trying to convince Forbes for several years” of the apartment’s value.

Weisselberg what pulled sharply from the stand after the article was published.

The announced agreement comes amid a delay in the decision in Trump’s fraud trial. Judge Arthur Engoron is expected to issue his decision between early and mid-February, a court spokesperson said. The Guardian.

It is unclear what prompted the delay, which occurred after a court-appointed observer reported potentially fake $48 million loanbut some lawyers believe that this could be linked to the Weisselberg negotiations.

“Why hasn’t Judge Engoron ruled on Trump’s civil fraud?” One reason may well be news that Trump’s CFO may plead to lying to Judge Engoron in order to help Trump. » tweeted former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann. “And the judge is waiting for this to support his decision against DJT. This would be another big nail in the coffin of Trump’s civil fraud.”

CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, another former federal prosecutor, agreed that the deal might have given Engoron pause.

“If I’m here in Judge Engoron’s place, and I’m about to make an important verdict and decision, and now I’ve heard this, and we’ve all heard this, that one of the key witnesses perjured himself in front of me. — I slam on the brakes and say, ‘I’m not going to make a decision until I know the details of this case,'” he said Thursday.

“If you decide to make a ruling and it turns out Weisselberg lied, that’s going to hurt the Trump Organization when the verdict comes,” Honig said, adding that the plea deal and the delay are a ” problem for Donald Trump. because it is he who will be the recipient of this verdict.”

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

“It was astounding to me,” he said. “I’ve never heard of such a thing!” I don’t think it’s enforceable to say you won’t cooperate with law enforcement. I mean, it certainly undermines what prosecutors are trying to do.

Experts say the development will likely affect Trump’s upcoming trial in Manhattan.

“It really sends a message to the other witnesses in a case. I’ve been involved in cases where we prosecuted someone for perjury in front of a grand jury. And you see the other witnesses trying to decide how far they can get away with it, take note, so in this case I think it’s really important,” former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance told MSNBC on Thursday.

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“One thing: This probably serves to keep Allen Weisselberg off the witness stand as a witness for Donald Trump’s defense,” Vance added. “He always defied the normal expectations of someone pleading guilty that he would cooperate for prosecutors in this deal. He never fully cooperated anyway… Keeping him off the stand and sending a warning to other witnesses would be important to Alvin Bragg at this stage.”

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti called the development “very significant.”

“You have to know that Allen Weisselberg gives a lot to Alvin Bragg and his team,” he told MSNBC. “Realistically, a prosecutor presenting a prosecution witness who pleads guilty to perjury, you know, that’s not going to be a very attractive witness… For that witness to be worth his time, he has to give up. something really important. That’s what I think is really the news here.”



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