Allen Weisselberg gives grand jury testimony in case where Michael Cohen implicated Donald Trump in “criminal activity”
Allen Weisselberg, the long-time Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, has been given immunity for his testimony in the case of payoffs — made just before the 2016 Presidential election — allegedly ordered by Donald Trump to two women who claimed sexual encounters with him.
Earlier this week Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to the payoffs, a felony violation of campaign finance law with a potential total of 10 years in prison, among eight charges.
Speaking under oath, Cohen told the court that Trump commanded him to make the $130,000 payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels and $150,000 to effectively kill the story of former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Both women claim encounters — in McDougal’s case, a 10-month affair — with Trump in 2006, just over a year after his marriage to Melania Knaus and a few months after the birth of their son Barron.
Federal prosecutors gave Weisselberg immunity for testimony to a grand jury in Cohen’s case this summer. A “person briefed on the deal” said it protected Weisselberg from self-incrimination and was confined to information about the payoffs.
Prosecutors said that Weisselberg processed the “sham invoices” through which Cohen was reimbursed by the Trump Organization for the payment to Daniels.
Weisselberg, who began working as an accountant with Trump’s father Fred in the 1970s, remains in his position at the Trump Organization.
News of the deal came a day after revelations that David Pecker, a close Trump friend and CEO of American Media Inc., has agreed to help prosecutors in return for immunity.
AMI paid McDougal the $150,000 for the rights to her account. It then buried the story by refusing to publish in its tabloid National Enquirer. The maneuver meant that McDougal, bound by the exclusive agreement, could not speak or write publicly about the affair.
In a September 2016 audio tape, Cohen told Trump that Weisselberg’s guidance for the formation of a company through which rights to McDougal’s story would be purchased from AMI. That arrangement was never completed.
Ex-Trump Tower Doorman: I Was Paid Off for Silence Over Trump’s Illegitimate Child
A former Trump World Tower doorman says Donald Trump has an illegitimate child, from an affair with a housekeeper.
Dino Sajudin said he was paid by American Media Inc. in a “catch and kill” contract — similar to that for former playboy model McDougal — in which his story was buried and he was unable to speak or write elsewhere.
Sajudin’s attorney Marc Held said the former doorman has now been released from the contract. A copy of the “source agreement” was given to CNN.
The contract was signed on November 15, 2015. It gives no details of the story beyond “Source shall provide AMI with information regarding Donald Trump’s illegitimate child”.
AMI paid Sajudin $30,000. Under the terms, the ex-doorman would pay AMI $1 million compensation if he violated the “exclusivity period…extended in perpetuity”.
In April, Sajudin told CNN of his claimed knowledge of the Trump relationship with the former housekeeper. At the time, AMI said Sajudin’s story was “not credible” and denied any connection with payoffs made by Michael Cohen on behalf of Trump.
Trump Continues Assault on Attorney General Sessions
Donald Trump continues his campaign to humiliate Jeff Sessions, possibly hoping to force the Attorney General’s resignation or to prepare for his dismissal over the Trump-Russia investigation.
Trump belittled “Jeff” in a series of tweets that recited Trump’s list of attempted diversions from the Russia investigation:
“Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the “other side” including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2018
….FISA abuse, Christopher Steele & his phony and corrupt Dossier, the Clinton Foundation, illegal surveillance of Trump Campaign, Russian collusion by Dems – and so much more. Open up the papers & documents without redaction? Come on Jeff, you can do it, the country is waiting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2018
For months, Trump has insulted and criticized Sessions, the first US Senator to back him in the 2016 election and then a senior Trump campaign official. Trump is angered that the Attorney General recused himself in March 2017 from the Russia inquiry, because of his contacts during 2016 with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Sessions’ re-entry to oversee the investigation would give him the authority to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump wants Mueller’s dismissal but cannot do so under the Constitution.
Trump stepped up his assault on Sessions this week, saying in a TV interview, “[Sessions] took the job and then he said, ‘I’m going to recuse myself.’ I said, ‘What kind of a man is this?’…I put in an Attorney General that never took control of the Justice Department.”
The Attorney General made a rare response later in the day, “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
[UPDATE: Trump began Saturday morning with more invective against Sessions:
Jeff Sessions said he wouldn’t allow politics to influence him only because he doesn’t understand what is happening underneath his command position. Highly conflicted Bob Mueller and his gang of 17 Angry Dems are having a field day as real corruption goes untouched. No Collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2018
He then pointed to the possibility of firing the Attorney General by quoting Senator Lindsey Graham: “I believe every President has a right to their Cabinet, these are not lifetime appointments. You serve at the pleasure of the President.”