What does Donald Trump’s criminal indictment today tell us about the Allen Weisselberg situation?

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Last night the news broke that Donald Trump’s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg, who is currently sitting in prison, had severed ties with the attorney who was being provided and paid for by the Trump Organization – raising the possibility that Weisselberg was flipping on Trump or considering flipping on Trump.

Hours after this news broke, Trump’s people put the spin out there in the media that they were the ones who fired Weisselberg’s attorney, because they were concerned that the attorney might be facilitating a Weisselberg deal. Trump’s people are further claiming that they’ve now assigned Weisselberg a new attorney.

It’s not clear why Trump’s people thought this spin made them look good, given that it confirmed they’re worried about Weisselberg flipping. There was also a sort of weird report from CNN that there was “no indication” that Weisselberg was cooperating with the DA. To be clear, this kind of phrasing gives away that Trump’s own people were the source for this. At the risk of stating the obvious, the DA knows for a fact whether or not Weisselberg is cooperating, and wouldn’t be using outsider phrasing such as “no indication.”

In any case, Donald Trump was criminally indicted today. Given that the indictment happened without Weisselberg testifying to the grand jury first (unless he was this last minute mystery witness), it presumably means Weisselberg hasn’t yet cut a deal. But Weisselberg could still easily be somewhere in the process of contemplating or negotiating a deal, and if so, Weisselberg would end up testifying against Trump when he’s on trial for today’s charges.

So now we wait to see if Trump’s apparent decision to punish Weisselberg, by taking his lawyer away from him and saddling him with a less friendly one, ends up causing Weisselberg to back down, or prompts Weisselberg to flip. That could go either way.

We’re also waiting to see if Bragg ends up bringing (or formally threatens to bring) additional charges against Weisselberg, as multiple major news outlets have alluded to over the past several weeks. If so, we’ll see if this pushes Weisselberg past the brink and prompts him to cut a deal.

Weisselberg is an elderly and seemingly frail man currently serving out a five month prison sentence. He’s decided to try to tough that out. But what happens if additional charges leave him looking at two years in prison instead of five months? Where is his breaking point?

How many of you think you could do five months in prison if you absolutely had to, in order to protect those closest to you? Okay, how about a year? How about three years? The math changes, right? Now imagine you’re 75 years old and don’t have a ton of years left to throw away.

So we’ll see. Again, even if Trump swapped out Weisselberg’s attorneys because he feared Weisselberg and the original attorney were going to cut a deal, that alone means Trump has seen something to suggest that Weisselberg is considering flipping. Or else why would Trump make such a panic move?

There are some things to watch for now. Will Weisselberg accept or reject this new attorney Trump has punitively assigned him? Will Bragg bring, or publicly threaten, additional charges to try to nudge Weisselberg over the edge?

The biggest thing to watch for is any sign that Bragg is putting together a tax fraud / insurance fraud case against Trump. Bragg would likely only do this if he has, or expects to have, Weisselberg on board. Yes, Bragg can bring a superseding indictment with additional charges against Trump at any time.

And above all, remember that a lack of recent headlines does NOT mean a lack of movement. This stuff takes place in secret by default. We only learn the fractions of information that someone involved with the case wants us to know, and even then it’s usually on a delay. No one even knew Bragg was meeting with the grand jury today, until the news surfaced that Trump had been indicted.

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