According to a new report from The New York Times, the team of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is threatening additional criminal charges against Allen Weisselberg, the longtime ally to Trump and former executive at the Trump family business who is currently in jail after admitting to a series of charges for tax fraud.
The additional allegations would center on insurance fraud in connection to an instance when he lied to an insurer, falsely claiming a series of Trump properties were independently appraised. Bragg, whose team has itself informed Weisselberg’s of the possibly future charges, is angling to pressure the former executive into further cooperation, this time against Trump. New reports have already outlined that Bragg has begun presenting evidence to a jury in New York on Trump’s role in a scheme to provide hush money to women with whom he purportedly had affairs. Bragg could bring charges in connection to those funds over the falsified business records created at the Trump company that concealed the true nature of reimbursements to then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who paid some of the funds targeting the two women.
Cohen himself has already been cooperating with Bragg’s renewed probe, including by providing personal cellphones of his for use in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the hush money. He was also evidently set to make another appearance to answer questions, in line with his past break with the ex-president he very publicly made.
Generally speaking, Weisselberg hasn’t turned on Trump. Despite testifying for prosecutors in the trial against the Trump company on related tax fraud allegations, he didn’t implicate the ex-president in his personal capacity, and on the other side of the relationship, Trump has complained publicly about the fate of the now ex-executive, rather than ditching him like his approach to Cohen’s plights. Weisselberg’s sentence, as imposed, was five months, although reports noted he could receive time off for good behavior. The length of time in custody is substantially lower than the years and years he could have faced, including if found guilty, and the judge who handled imposing his sentence reminded listeners of the possibility.
That judge, New York’s Juan Merchan, indicated he’d have been inclined to impose a longer sentence on Weisselberg if not bound by past agreements, noting issues that emerged like a fraudulent salary check for which Weisselberg was responsible that helped set up his wife for eligibility to receive federal Social Security benefits. The tax fraud charges, which mirrored the case against two Trump business entities, dealt with high-dollar benefits provided to executives that went improperly reported, with those benefiting and the Trump company not paying the required taxes. Weisselberg already paid some $2 million connected to that case, and the Trump business entities have paid the $1.6 million imposed in financial penalties after a jury conviction at trial. Bragg pushed for officials to craft an opportunity for steeper penalties in such a case. The fines on the Trump entities were the max legally allowed.