As that investigation proceeds, all eyes are on whether Weisselberg might flip against his longtime boss, former President Donald Trump.
But as the federal prosecutors previously learned, any assistance from Weisselberg could be a mixed blessing. Weisselberg has denied wrongdoing in the tax fraud investigation and in connection with anything pertaining to the Cohen case.
But federal prosecutors ended up questioning their decision to give Weisselberg immunity, according to people familiar with the matter.
After they came to suspect Weisselberg lied in his testimony, prosecutors weighed whether to pursue perjury charges and, according to one person familiar with the matter, they also explored whether they could retract his immunity.
Prosecutors were skeptical of Weisselberg’s testimony, particularly his description of how the company reimbursed Cohen and categorized it in the company’s books as legal expenses, two people familiar with the investigation said. Weisselberg wasn’t the only Trump Organization official whose testimony prosecutors doubted, according to one of these people.
One hurdle prosecutors have in bringing perjury cases is proving the information was false and that the individual knew it was false when they testified.
Prosecutors ultimately decided against either stripping Weisselberg of his immunity or prosecuting him.
A spokesman for the Manhattan US attorney’s office declined to comment.
A lawyer for Weisselberg, Mary Mulligan, said, “Allen cooperated fully in the SDNY’s extensive investigation. The SDNY charged Michael Cohen with campaign finance and tax violations, and then closed its investigation more than two years ago.”
In a July 2019 court filing, federal prosecutors informed the judge in Cohen’s case that the Manhattan US attorney’s office had “effectively concluded its investigations of (1) who, besides Michael Cohen, was involved in and may be criminally liable for the two campaign finance violations to which Cohen pled guilty” and whether certain people, the details of which were redacted, “made false statements, gave false testimony or otherwise obstructed justice in connection with this investigation.”
Weisselberg was among the people the office investigated for such behavior, according to one person familiar with the matter.
The indictment focused largely on Weisselberg. In the months leading up to the charges, district attorney prosecutors repeatedly sought his cooperation as a possible way to bring the investigation closer to Trump himself.
The investigation is ongoing. Prosecutors are looking into, among other things, whether the Trump Organization misled insurers and lenders by inflating the value of certain properties on financial statements.
If Weisselberg were to try to cooperate with the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation, he would be required to be truthful in his testimony or face the threat of prosecution for perjury, in addition to the other alleged crimes for which he is being prosecuted.
Prior to being indicted, Weisselberg indicated to the district attorney’s office that he didn’t intend to cooperate, and he hasn’t appeared to change his position since being charged.
Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.