POLITICS
08/24/2018 11:20 am ET Updated Aug 28, 2018

Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization CFO, Granted Immunity In Cohen Investigation

Federal prosecutors granted immunity to President Donald Trump’s longtime CFO for providing information regarding hush-money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity in federal prosecutors’ investigation into President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets reported Friday.

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating campaign finance laws at Trump’s direction, when he made payments to prevent the stories of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women alleging they had extramarital affairs with Trump, from going public during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. 

Weisselberg was subpoenaed in the investigation last month. According to The Wall Street Journal, it is unclear if Weisselberg testified as to whether Trump himself knew about the payments.

On Thursday, David Pecker, the CEO of the company that owns the tabloid the National Enquirer, was also granted immunity in the investigation. In a practice known as “catch and kill,” Pecker allegedly helped Cohen suppress potentially damaging stories about Trump.

No one knows Trump’s finances better than Weisselberg. Aside from Trump himself, Weisselberg is the longest-serving employee of the Trump Organization. He has worked for the company since the 1970s, beginning as an accountant with Fred Trump, the president’s father, and working his way up to chief financial officer.

He is currently one of three executives, alongside the president’s elder sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who run the trust set up to manage the Trump Organization while Trump serves as president. Weisselberg was named by Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis as the executive who approved the Trump Organization’s reimbursement of Cohen for the payments made to Daniels.

Weisselberg handled not just the Trump Organization’s finances but also those of Trump himself. This means Weisselberg is the accountant who filed Trump’s tax returns. He also signed the checks for Trump’s fake university in its $25 million settlement with former students who had sued the school for fraud. And he was named treasurer of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which is currently under investigation by the New York attorney general for fraud.

“He plays an integral part in the Trump Organization’s growth and continued financial success,” Ivanka Trump said in an emailed statement to The Wall Street Journal in 2016. “He is deeply passionate, fiercely loyal and has stood alongside my father and our family for over [three] decades.”

This story has been updated with additional information on Weisselberg.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported that Trump University had been fined $25 million for defrauding students. The two parties reached a settlement. This story also previously misstated the name for the practice of suppressing potentially damaging stories. 

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