Former Trump CFO pleads guilty to perjury

Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer for Donald Trump's company, pleaded guilty to lying under oath. He will be sent to jail but is not required to testify in Trump's hush-money criminal trial.


National News

March 5, 2024 - 1:30 PM

Allen Weisselberg. Photo by TNS

NEW YORK (AP) — Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of Donald Trump’s company, pleaded guilty Monday to lying under oath during his testimony in the ex-president’s New York civil fraud case. His plea deal will send him back to jail but does not require that he testify at Trump’s hush-money criminal trial.

Weisselberg, 76, pleaded guilty in state court in Manhattan to two counts of perjury and will be sentenced in April to five months in jail — his second stint behind bars after serving 100 days last year for dodging taxes on company perks.

In pleading guilty, Weisselberg found himself caught again between the law and his loyalty to Trump, whose family employed him for nearly 50 years, sent him into retirement with a $2 million severance and has continued to pay his legal bills. His plea to perjury is further evidence that, rather than testify truthfully in a way that might harm his old boss, he was willing to again spend a chunk of his golden years in jail.

“It is a crime to lie in depositions and at trial — plain and simple,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said in a statement.

Weisselberg’s plea agreement does not require him to cooperate or testify at the hush-money trial, which is scheduled to begin March 25. Prosecutors promised not to prosecute him for other crimes he might have committed in connection with his employment at the Trump Organization.

In court Monday, Weisselberg admitted lying under oath on three occasions while testifying in a lawsuit brought against Trump by New York Attorney General Letitia James — in deposition testimony in July 2020 and May 2023 and on the witness stand at the trial last October.

However, to avoid violating his probation in the tax case, he agreed to plead guilty only to charges related to his 2020 testimony.

“Allen Weisselberg looks forward to putting this situation behind him,” his lawyer Seth Rosenberg said in a statement.

Trump’s lawyers argued Weisselberg did nothing wrong and was targeted by Bragg, a Democrat, “in a tyrannical attempt” to impede Trump’s presidential campaign.

“This plea was no doubt extorted by threatening an elderly and innocent man with immediate and lengthy incarceration,” Trump lawyer Christopher Kise said. “Such alarming, shameful and oppressive tactics have no place in our justice system and expose the citizens of New York to irreparable and life-altering harm.”

Weisselberg surrendered to the D.A.’s office Monday morning and entered court in handcuffs and a mask. He admitted lying when he testified he had little knowledge or awareness of how Trump’s Manhattan penthouse came to be valued on his financial statements at nearly three times its actual size.

“You knew that testimony was false?” Judge Laurie Petersen asked Weisselberg on Monday.

“Yes,” Weisselberg replied.

Weisselberg will be formally sentenced April 10. In agreeing to a five-month sentence, prosecutors cited Weisselberg’s age and willingness to admit wrongdoing. In New York, perjury is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

As Weisselberg was pleading guilty Monday, the Supreme Court restored Trump to the ballot in Colorado after the state removed him over his efforts to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss.

The judge in the civil fraud case ruled last month that Trump, Weisselberg and others schemed to deceive banks, insurers and others by lying about Trump’s wealth on financial statements used to make deals and secure loans.

Along with penalizing Trump $455 million, Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Weisselberg to pay $1 million — the amount of severance he has received so far. Trump, Weisselberg and their co-defendants are appealing.