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Longtime Trump executive pleads guilty again, this time to perjury charges

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A longtime top financial officer of Donald Trump’s company, pleaded guilty Monday morning to perjury charges.

These charges stem from statements that Allen Weisselberg made in 2020 to the New York attorney general’s office during its years-long investigation into Trump and his business. That investigation later led to New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) filing a civil fraud lawsuit against Trump and his business.

For Weisselberg, his Monday court appearance was the second time in three years that he has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his long-standing ties to Trump.

In this latest case, Weisselberg faced five counts of perjury in the first degree, a felony, according to court filings. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said Weisselberg surrendered to prosecutors Monday morning. Appearing in court later in the morning, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury. He is due back for sentencing on April 10.

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These charges mark the latest legal peril for Weisselberg, who in recent years pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including grand larceny and criminal tax fraud, in a separate case; served months behind bars; and was penalized $1 million in a civil fraud trial.

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“Allen Weisselberg looks forward to putting this situation behind him,” an attorney for Weisselberg said in a statement Monday.

Weisselberg served as chief financial officer for the Trump Organization. In 2021, he and the company were indicted and accused of carrying out a long-standing fraud aimed at hiding income from tax authorities. The company was convicted in 2022, then ordered to pay $1.6 million in fines.

In that case, Weisselberg pleaded guilty in 2022 to committing more than a dozen felonies. He was sentenced to five months in jail and five years’ probation, then released after about three months.

When Weisselberg pleaded guilty in 2022, an attorney said that decision was meant “to put an end to this case and the years-long legal and personal nightmares it has caused for him and his family.” The plea agreement, the attorney said then, meant Weisselberg agreed to serve a little more than three months instead of risking 15 years in prison.

Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty in 2022

Trump and his associates had slammed that case against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization. When Weisselberg pleaded guilty in 2022, Trump’s company called him “a fine and honorable man who, for the past 4 years, has been harassed, persecuted and threatened by law enforcement.”

Trump has long assailed scrutiny from investigators and law enforcement, saying that he, his business and his associates were being unfairly targeted.

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The former president, who is seeking another term in office, is facing four pending criminal cases. One of those cases is set to go to trial later this month and will be prosecuted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

In that case, Trump is accused of falsifying business records during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep an adult-film star from publicly alleging that she had an affair with him years earlier. Michael Cohen, a former Trump associate turned nemesis, paid the actress to keep her from speaking publicly. Prosecutors allege that Trump misclassified the payments reimbursing Cohen.

It was unclear whether Weisselberg might be called to testify during that trial and whether the latest case against him might impact that.

Weisselberg is not named in the indictment against Trump in that case in Manhattan, but it deals with financial records kept by the Trump Organization. And a statement of facts in the case filed by the district attorney’s office alleges numerous times that Cohen discussed the payments with the Trump Organization’s finance chief.

Weisselberg was also among the defendants named in a 2022 lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) following her office’s investigation. James said that Trump, his company and some executives — including Weisselberg — had participated in a years-long financial fraud, falsely inflating the values of assets so they could get better terms from lenders and insurers.

A judge last month handed down an array of punishments against Trump, Weisselberg and others in the case. Weisselberg, for his part, was found liable for $1 million and given a lifetime ban from working in “the financial control function” of any New York company. Defendants in the case quickly vowed to appeal the judge’s decision.

Calabrese reported from New York.

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Source: Washington Post

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