Multiple major news outlets have reported over the past month that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is looking to flip Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg against Donald Trump and other members of the Trump family. The key will be whether prosecutors can find enough dirt on Weisselberg to convince him that he’s going to prison for a long time if he doesn’t flip on Trump.
Given that the Trump Organization has always been run as a financially fraudulent con game from top to bottom, its Chief Financial Officer had to have been in on the criminality, right? But not that much is known about the specific role that Weisselberg played within the Trump Organization’s dealings. Now, New York Daily News has dug up a years-ago deposition given by Weisselberg which provides some insight into that.
During the deposition, Weisselberg simply tried to claim that he had no idea about the legalities of what the Trump Organization was doing with its money and its business dealings, because the legal stuff was handled by other people. But that’s not going to fly with New York prosecutors.
For Weisselberg to have protected himself from criminal exposure, he would have needed to make sure that the work he was doing within the Trump Organization was fully legal. Instead, he’s reduced to making the argument that he didn’t know if the work he was doing was legal, because with rare exceptions he didn’t want to know. That argument might work for a low level factory worker or janitor, but not for the Chief Financial Officer. It sounds like the Manhattan DA’s office is going to have a field day picking Weisselberg apart, and pressuring him to flip on Trump.
It’s also previously been reported that Weisselberg and his family may have committed financial fraud by taking massive gifts from Trump and not reporting them. It’s important that New York prosecutors not only nail Weisselberg, but also convince him up front that he’s been nailed. It would take years to put Weisselberg on trial and convict him, by which time the prosecution against Trump will already be well underway, and Weisselberg’s help could be irrelevant.
Prosecutors will have to convince Weisselberg to flip soon, or move on without him. Notably, former Trump employee Michael Cohen, who has met with New York prosecutors eight times and counting to help them build their criminal case against Donald Trump, says that prosecutors have more than enough evidence to nail Trump, with or without Weisselberg’s cooperation. But Weisselberg’s help could make the case even more of a slam dunk, and the goal is obviously to make 100% certain that Trump is convicted.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report