Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg testified on Tuesday in a civil fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The trial poses a significant threat to Donald Trump’s business empire. Weisselberg’s testimony suggests that Trump’s legal team may employ a strategy of blaming Weisselberg once again. However, it is uncertain if this strategy will be successful.
Weisselberg’s role as a loyal company man and potential fall guy for Trump’s alleged wrongdoing has been highlighted in both this trial and a previous criminal tax evasion trial. In the previous trial, Trump Organization lawyers attempted to portray Weisselberg as the orchestrator of the scheme, absolving Trump family members of any involvement. Despite lacking hard evidence of Trump’s knowledge, prosecutors secured convictions against Trump’s businesses.
The current civil fraud case alleges that Trump falsely inflated property values to secure favorable deals with banks and insurance companies. This case strikes at the core of Trump’s identity as a real estate mogul and political candidate. Weisselberg, as the CFO, played a pivotal role in the daily financial operations of the Trump Organization.
During his testimony, Weisselberg initially refused to implicate anyone higher up in the organization. However, he later admitted that he took the inflated numbers to Trump for review and signature. After Trump became president, Weisselberg claimed he presented the numbers to Donald Trump Jr. or Eric Trump, both of whom are co-defendants in the fraud case.
The personal nature of this case for Trump is evident, as he and his children negotiated deals, met with executives, and signed loan applications. Trump has expressed a strong interest in the valuations of his properties in public statements and a recent deposition.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and fixer, is expected to testify next week. Cohen’s previous testimony before Congress initiated James’ investigation. It is likely that Cohen will be questioned about meetings with Trump and Weisselberg regarding property valuations.
In conclusion, Allen Weisselberg’s testimony in the civil fraud trial sheds light on his role as a key figure in the Trump Organization’s financial operations. The trial poses a significant threat to Trump’s business empire and delves into allegations of property value inflation. The involvement of other individuals, including Michael Cohen, may further reveal the extent of Trump’s knowledge and involvement in these matters.