Allen Weisselberg’s guilty plea suddenly looms large
Allen Weisselberg’s recent guilty plea looms larger now. Cooperation deal or not, his guilty plea removes 5th amendment protections for these specific crimes, and requires him to testify in federal criminal probes that result from the criminal referrals Letitia James made today.
This isn’t some trick, or some contrarian idea. It’s simply standard procedure how these things work. Without a cooperation deal, Weisselberg cannot be forced to testify about additional crimes that he and Trump committed together, which go beyond the ones he pleaded guilty to. But when it comes to the specific crimes that he did plead guilty to, he has to testify. His lawyers certainly explained this to him when he was deciding to plead guilty.
Weisselberg can refuse to comply, but in such case he’d be charged with obstruction and do a lot more prison time than what he got in his deal. And if he testifies but lies to try to protect Trump, he’ll get charged with perjury, and once again do more time.
We’ll see if Weisselberg goes through with testifying to various prosecutors about the crimes that he just pleaded guilty to having committed with Donald Trump, so that he can stick with the charitable five month prison sentence he’s been given, or if Weisselberg ends up being too wimpy to testify against Trump and decides to spend a lot more time in prison instead. That’ll be his choice. But now that Letitia James is making federal criminal referrals that overlap with the things that Weisselberg is on the hook for testifying about, it’s worth watching.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report