Allen Weisselberg, Trump’s Ex-Finance Chief, Sentenced to 5 Months for Perjury

Allen H. Weisselberg, Donald J. Trump’s longtime financial lieutenant, was sentenced Wednesday to five months in the Rikers Island jail complex for perjury, capping a legal saga that has now landed him behind bars twice.

The sentence, handed down by a state court judge in Manhattan, came just five days before Mr. Trump is to go on trial in the same courthouse on accusations that he covered up a sex scandal. Mr. Weisselberg was not charged in the same case as Mr. Trump, but he would not be headed to jail if not for his former boss’s own troubles: Prosecutors set their sights on Mr. Weisselberg after he refused to turn on Mr. Trump.

Last month, Mr. Weisselberg, 76, pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury committed while he was being questioned in 2020 by the New York attorney general’s office, which was investigating Mr. Trump for fraud.

In a brief and perfunctory appearance before the judge, Laurie Peterson, Mr. Weisselberg, wearing a dark jacket and a blue surgical mask, showed little emotion. When the judge asked if he wanted to say anything, he simply responded, “no, your honor.”

Overall, the sentencing lasted about three minutes, a quicker and less dramatic proceeding than when he was last sentenced to jail in early 2023.

A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, declined to comment. The New York attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did a lawyer for Mr. Weisselberg, Seth Rosenberg.

The most recent charges against Mr. Weisselberg stemmed from the fraud investigation led by the attorney general, Letitia James. She ultimately accused Mr. Trump and several associates, including Mr. Weisselberg, of inflating his financial statements in order to receive better loan terms.

After a monthslong trial, Justice Arthur F. Engoron levied a $454 million judgment against Mr. Trump.

For his role, Mr. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, was penalized $1 million and prohibited from serving in a financial capacity for any New York company.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have denounced the prosecution of Mr. Weisselberg, pointing to his advanced age. They argue that he is an innocent victim of the wide-ranging scrutiny of Mr. Trump.

With good behavior, Mr. Weisselberg’s sentence could be reduced to about 100 days. He will likely be jailed throughout Mr. Trump’s criminal trial, which Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors are also leading. Jury selection in that trial is set to begin on Monday.

Mr. Weisselberg first came under scrutiny years ago, as the Manhattan district attorney’s office was ramping up its investigation into Mr. Trump. His encyclopedic knowledge of the Trump Organization — he worked for the Trump family for nearly a half century and helped run the company after Mr. Trump was elected president — made him a potentially valuable asset for prosecutors.

But Mr. Weisselberg refused to cooperate with prosecutors, establishing what would become a pattern of allegiance to Mr. Trump at the expense of his own freedom.

In 2022, he pleaded guilty to tax fraud and agreed to testify against the Trump Organization at its trial on the same charges, but stopped short of implicating Mr. Trump himself. The company was ultimately convicted of 17 counts of financial crime and Mr. Weisselberg was later sentenced to five months at Rikers Island, of which he served about 100 days.

And without his cooperation, prosecutors moved forward with an indictment of Mr. Trump. Last year, they charged the former president with 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a sexual encounter with a porn star that prosecutors say could have influenced the 2016 election.

Mr. Bragg’s office believed that Mr. Weisselberg played a role in the hush-money payment, but prosecutors will make their case without his help.

Mr. Weisselberg’s most recent guilty plea stemmed from comments he made in 2020, when he spoke with lawyers at the New York attorney general’s office about Mr. Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower.

In his plea, Mr. Weisselberg admitted lying about when he learned that the triplex, which was listed as 30,000 square feet on Mr. Trump’s financial statements, was actually 10,996 square feet. He also admitted to lying about whether he had been present when Mr. Trump inflated the square footage.

Mr. Weisselberg also acknowledged lying during a second deposition with the attorney general and during trial testimony, when he played down his involvement in valuing the triplex.

During the trial, lawyers with the attorney general’s office painted Mr. Weisselberg as a company man with incentive to lie.

They confronted Mr. Weisselberg, who had started working for the Trump family as a bookkeeper for Mr. Trump’s father, with a severance agreement showing that the company had paid him $2 million. The deal prevented him from cooperating with any law enforcement investigation unless legally required.

In his final written decision, Justice Engoron said that the contract had rendered Mr. Weisselberg’s testimony “highly unreliable.”

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