For more than a month it’s been widely reported that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been leaning on Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg to cut a plea deal against Donald Trump and the Trump family. Although these things aren’t always immediately made public when they happen, there has been no indication that any sort of deal has been made.
That’s part of why it’s such a big deal that the New York Attorney General has announced a criminal investigation of her own, and that hers is focusing on the entire Trump Organization, not just Donald Trump. The DA is already probing the finances of Weisselberg and his son to try to find pressure points for pushing him to flip. But now the stakes just got much higher.
Imagine being Allen Weisselberg, and trying to figure out whether the local DA has the resources and pull to nail you and your family with financial crimes. Then you wake up today and find out that the State of New York itself is now investigating every inch of your financial life for that same reason.
It’s not enough to simply nail Weisselberg. If he insists on going to trial before he’s ultimately convicted and then cuts a deal, that could take a year or two, by which time the criminal case against Trump will have already moved forward without him. Prosecutors have to make Weisselberg understand that he’s nailed, so he’ll cut a deal now, and be useful as a witness now.
This news from the New York Attorney General has got to be Weisselberg’s breaking point. It has to be clear to him now that he and his son are very likely going to prison for a long time unless they give up Trump and his family. Prosecutors already have more than enough evidence to nail Trump, with or without Weisselberg’s help. But given the importance of making the criminal case against Trump totally bulletproof, getting Weisselberg on board certainly couldn’t hurt.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report