- Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg reportedly still does not cooperate with prosecutors.
- Legal experts say aAs a potential key witness, he may be holding the best possible deal.
- Weisselberg may never cooperate with the Manhattan DA’s investigation into the Trump Organization.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Manhattan’s district attorney’s office is still trying to secure the cooperation of the future star witness in its criminal investigation into the Trump organization, according to The New York Times, and is considering whether to charge Allen Weisselberg as soon as this summer.
For two years, the district attorney̵
Legal experts told Insider that the chief financial officer may not be cooperating yet because he is holding out to prosecutors to offer him the best possible deal.
“He might hold out because he’s saying to himself, ‘Listen, they need me, so I want to cut the best I can, instead of taking their first offer out of the box,'” Randy Zelin said. , a defense attorney at Wilk Auslander LLP and former state attorney in New York.
Prosecutors in Manhattan have done much to pressure Weisselberg to cooperate. They have sent out his grandchildren’s school and are investigating his son Barry, who also works for the Trump Organization and whose finances accompany the executive, according to Jennifer Weisselberg, Barry’s ex-wife.
Despite this pressure, Allen Weisselberg has still not turned around, according to The Times.
It is not clear whether Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will ultimately sue Trump, Weisselberg, the Trump Organization, other business leaders – or anyone at all.
As the owner of the Trump organization’s and the Trump family’s economy, Weisselberg is best placed to guide prosecutors through financial evidence to bring or break a criminal case against Trump or his firm. Weisselberg may be using this leverage to get the best deal possible for himself and his family members, experts said.
Jeffrey Robbins, a former federal prosecutor who oversees money laundering investigations, told Insider that prosecutors could seek harsh sanctions against Weisselberg to demonstrate the severity of the Trump Organization’s behavior to a jury. Weisselberg can fight to make sure he doesn’t go to jail, Robbins said.
“Prosecutors know that in a” he said, he said “contest with the former president of the United States, it would be important for the main collaborating witness to earn time – so the jury is more likely to believe him,” Robbins , now a lawyer at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, told Insider. “They may be insisting that Weisselberg agrees to make time – and that may very well be something that Weisselberg is not prepared to do.”
There is a chance that Weisselberg may not cooperate at all
Weisselberg may also not cooperate in calculating that he would rather take his chances with Trumps at the defense table.
It does not make much sense for him to cooperate with prosecutors – which will almost certainly mean that he himself pleads guilty to some charges – when there is a chance that he could be acquitted. Weisselberg may think his loyalty to Trump will pay off and that he has the money to defend himself, Zelin said.
While Vance is widely expected to make a tax decision before retiring by the end of the year – and according to ABC News has impressed a special jury for the investigation – there is a possibility that his successor may shy away from the case.
The incoming Manhattan DA may decide that the Trump investigation is too expensive and that New Yorkers prefer to spend resources on street crime and shootings, which the New York Police Department says is increasing. If Weisselberg were to cooperate and only admit guilt to get Vance’s successor to drop the case, Zelin said he would have lost Trump’s good mercy for nothing.
“Now the music stops for Allen Weisselberg and there were no chairs for him to sit at,” Zelin said. “I’m sure he says to himself, ‘Maybe it could happen, and if I just persevere, this case might go nowhere.'”