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Ex-Trump Org. CFO pleads guilty to perjury charges

By Kara Scannell, Lauren del Valle and Sabrina Souza, CNN

(CNN) — Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg admitted on Monday to testifying falsely to the New York attorney general about his knowledge of the size of Donald Trump’s apartment triplex and how the value of that apartment was inflated on Trump’s financial statements for years based on the incorrect square footage.

Weisselberg was charged with five counts of perjury, but under a deal with prosecutors, he agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts relating to testimony he gave during a 2020 deposition with the attorney general’s office. Weisselberg admitted to testifying falsely at the attorney general’s civil fraud trial against Trump last fall, though that is not among the charges to which he pleaded guilty.

Per his agreement with prosecutors, Weisselberg did not plead guilty to perjury at Trump’s civil fraud trial over the triplex, and the parties agreed he wouldn’t be sentenced for that conduct, which could be considered a violation of his parole in connection to his 2022 guilty plea to 15 counts of tax fraud.

The former Trump Org. CFO answered questions from Judge Laurie Peterson confirming his plea. Weisselberg told the judge he is pleading guilty because he is guilty.

In reviewing the plea agreement, prosecutor Gary Fishman said they considered Weisselberg’s age in not recommending more than five months in prison but said prison time was necessary as the harm caused by perjury “tears at the very fabric” of the justice system.

Weisselberg will be sentenced on April 10. Under the terms of the deal with prosecutors, Weisselberg will be sentenced to five months in jail – a deal identical to the prior arrangement he made in 2022 plea. In the previous case, he served about 100 days.

During his arraignment Monday morning, Weisselberg acknowledged he lied when he testified to the attorney general during a 2020 deposition that he never heard Trump falsely misstate the size of Trump’s triplex in a September 2015 interview with a Forbes reporter. He admitted he was present for that Forbes interview.

Weisselberg also admitted he gave false testimony during a May 2023 deposition when he tried to distance himself from the creation of Trump’s inflated personal financial statements at issue in the AG’s civil fraud case. Weisselberg acknowledged he falsely testified when he told state attorneys that “I didn’t delve into the numbers” and that he relied on the property valuations computed by former Trump Org. Controller Jeff McConney.

“These statements were false as Weisselberg was significantly involved in determining what methodology and numbers were used to value properties in the [statements of financial condition],” the complaint says.

Per his plea agreement, Weisselberg also admitted he lied again about these matters on the stand last October during the civil fraud trial, though that is not among the charges to which he pleaded guilty.

Earlier Monday, Weisselberg declined to comment to CNN. Seth Rosenberg, an attorney for Weisselberg, also declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said that “it is a crime to lie in depositions and at trial – plain and simple,” adding that the former Trump Organization official is “being held responsible for his conduct.”

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump, accused Bragg of committing “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Weisselberg had been in plea talks with Manhattan prosecutors for several weeks relating to his testimony taken during the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into the former president in 2020 and when he testified last year, several people familiar with the investigation said.

As part of the plea talks, Weisselberg was not expected to turn on Trump and will not testify against him at the New York criminal hush money case scheduled to start later this month, the people said.

Trump is indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment and reimbursement before the 2016 presidential election. Weisselberg was central to the financial dealings but neither prosecutors nor Trump’s attorneys said they plan to call him as a witness. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

It is the second guilty plea by Weisselberg, who in 2022 pleaded guilty to 15 counts of tax fraud and testified in the trial of two Trump Org. entities. Weisselberg was credited with giving truthful testimony and the entities were convicted and fined. The judge sentenced Weisselberg to five months in jail and supervised release. He served about 100 days in Rikers Island jail.

The latest charges are a blow personally for Weisselberg, who is in his late 70s with medical issues. Last month, the New York state judge overseeing the attorney general’s civil case found Weisselberg liable for fraud and ordered him to pay $1 million plus interest, roughly half of the $2 million severance he received from the Trump Org.

In the hush money case, Weisselberg helped arrange the reimbursement to Michael Cohen, the ex-president’s former lawyer, who advanced $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to stop her from going public about an affair with Trump. Trump has denied the affair.

The payment initially drew scrutiny of federal prosecutors who gave Weisselberg limited immunity for his testimony before a federal grand jury. Prosecutors moved forward with charges against Cohen.

“Because the Trump Organization is a privately held company, had I remained silent and stayed on Donald’s desired messaging, none of this would have been exposed,” Cohen told CNN. Cohen was investigated by federal prosecutors and pleaded guilty to multiple charges in 2018. He did not cooperate with the federal investigation. However, he did cooperate with the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation and is expected to testify against Trump at the trial later this month.

This story and headline have been updated with additional information.

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