Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is the latest person in President Trump’s orbit to have been granted immunity in the investigation surrounding payments made to women who alleged that they had affairs with Trump.
The news comes a day after it surfaced that David Pecker, chairman of the company that owns the National Enquirer and a longtime friend of President Trump, and American Media Inc. chief content officer Dylan Howard were also granted immunity to tell prosecutors what they know.
The Associated Press reported that the Enquirer kept a safe with potentially damaging stories on Trump, along with other celebrities who benefited from the newspaper buying dirt and then killing the stories, and information about hush-money agreements in the run-up to the presidential election.
Former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felonies this week, including campaign finance violations that centered around pre-election hush money.
Cohen told the judge in court that a $130,000 payment — what porn star Stormy Daniels said Cohen paid her — was made “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” and was later repaid by the candidate. Cohen also admitted to arranging a $150,000 payment through American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, which purchased yet did not publish former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story alleging an affair with Trump before the election.
The Daniels payment was charged as an excessive personal contribution and the National Enquirer money was charged as an unlawful corporate contribution, both “for the principle purpose of influencing the election,” Cohen said in court.
Trump told Fox News this week, while talking about Cohen, that flipping “almost ought to be outlawed.”
Weisselberg was mentioned by Cohen in a tape released in July in which Cohen and Trump talk about keeping McDougal quiet on her affair allegations. “I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up,” Cohen tells Trump. “So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it.”
Weisselberg was reportedly interviewed weeks ago after his attorney negotiated the immunity deal with prosecutors. Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. serve as the two trustees of the Trump Organization, giving him access to Trump’s finances. He’s worked for the Trump family for decades, starting with Fred Trump in the 1970s.
Weisselberg also worked on the Trump Foundation, which is under investigation by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and is the target of a lawsuit by the New York attorney general. The tax department subpoenaed Cohen this week.
“Allen knows where all the financial bodies are buried. Allen knows every deal, he knows every dealership, he knows every sale, anything and everything that’s been done — he knows every membership. Anything you can think of,” a former Trump Organization employee told CNN.