Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg was granted immunity for providing information to federal prosecutors in their investigation into Michael Cohen, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Weisselberg was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury about hush money payments made to women in order to protect President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The decision to grant Weisselberg immunity is a stunning new development in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office investigation into Cohen, who on Tuesday pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other financial crimes.
Weisselberg has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Trump Organization for decades, closely overseeing the real estate company’s business dealings. He also handled personal financial matters for Trump, and served as treasurer of the President’s troubled foundation.
Court documents related to Cohen’s plea deal refer to two executives at the Trump Organization who used sham legal invoices to reimburse Cohen for two hush money payments he made to women who claimed to have carried out affairs with Trump. Cohen was paid via a retainer for legal services, but the payments he received had nothing to do with legal work he provided to the company.
On a September 2016 recording Cohen covertly made, Cohen can be heard telling Trump that he spoke to Weisselberg about how best to structure the hush money payments.
In court on Tuesday, Cohen told a federal judge that he carried out these deals at Trump’s direction.
After the recording was released in late July, Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas called Weisselberg “a bookkeeper who simply carries out directions from others about monetary payments and transfers.”
But Weisselberg was a longtime ally of the Trump family, who got his start working for the President’s father, Fred, and has been with the Trump Organization since the 1970s. After Trump was elected, Weisselberg took over operations of the company alongside Trump’s two adult sons.
The Journal reported Thursday that several other Trump allies involved in the payouts to women were also granted immunity. Neither David Pecker, the CEO of the National Enquirer’s parent company, or David Howard, a top editor at the tabloid, will face criminal charges for telling prosecutors how the hush money deals were structured.
According to court documents, Pecker, Cohen and at least one member of the Trump campaign engaged in a coordinated effort to purchase damaging stories about Trump’s affairs to keep them from being made public.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the tabloid kept a safe containing documents on the hush money payments made out during the 2016 election.