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Imprisoned Trump exec Allen Weisselberg could get hit with more charges: report

Raw Story 2/2/2023 Matthew Chapman
Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. © Raw Story Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr.

Prosecutors in Manhattan are threatening to file new charges against jailed Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg as part of a ploy to get him to hand over even more information, reported The New York Times on Thursday.

"Mr. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, is already serving a five-month sentence in the Rikers Island jail complex after pleading guilty to unrelated tax fraud charges. While he testified against the company at its trial on the same charges last year, he has for years refused to turn on Mr. Trump directly," reported Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Jonah E. Bromwich. "But as the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, jump-starts his office’s effort to indict Mr. Trump, his prosecutors are using the prospect of additional charges to exert leverage over Mr. Weisselberg, the people with knowledge of the matter said. The potential charges, which prosecutors conveyed to the former executive’s legal team this week, center on insurance fraud and could lead to a significant prison sentence for Mr. Weisselberg, who is 75."

Bragg is focusing in particular on the hush payments Trump brokered to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Legal experts have suggested he is looking for falsified business statements — which would be an easy crime to find a paper trail for.

Any potential charges against Weisselberg would not involve the hush payment scheme directly. However, said the report, "he has long been the missing piece in any criminal case against the former president" — indeed, he was only charged at all in the tax case "after resisting a pressure campaign from prosecutors seeking his testimony against Mr. Trump."

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Weisselberg's original conviction, along with that of the Trump Organization as a corporate entity, stemmed from illegal tax maneuvers, in which Trump's businesses gave enormous perks to Weisselberg, including free use of an apartment and cars, as a way of reducing the tax liability on his compensation.

The new potential charge on Weisselberg would be insurance fraud, for allegedly lying to the Trump Organization's insurer that the company's real estate holdings had been independently evaluated by an outside appraiser. "The basis for an insurance fraud charge against Mr. Weisselberg first emerged publicly in a court filing early last year as part of the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into Mr. Trump and his family business," said the report. That investigation was conducted independently of Bragg's prosecution, and led to New York Attorney General Letitia James filing a civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization.

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