Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Subpoenaed by Federal Grand Jury
Earlier this week, CNN obtained copies of a recorded conversation between Donald Trump and Michael Cohen. The pair can be heard discussing buying the rights to Karen McDougal’s story from American Media, Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, so they can permanently bury McDougal’s claim that she had a yearlong affair with Donald Trump in 2006. Audio forensics expert Ed Primeau transcribed the tape for CNN and this key part of the conversation jumps out:
In the tape, Cohen said "we'll have to pay" to purchase the rights to McDougal's story. The audio forensics expert concluded that Trump then responded with, "I'll pay with cash," to which Cohen immediately replied, "no, no, no," several times, appearing to reject the idea of paying with cash.
Cohen went onto explain that he’d spoken with Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, about setting up a phony company to make the payment.
“I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up,” Cohen tells Trump. “So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it.”
Now the Wall Street Journal reports Allen Wesselberg, who has worked for Donald Trump for decades, has received a subpoena to testify before a Federal grand Jury.
Mr. Weisselberg is considered a witness in the investigation, the people said. It isn’t known whether he has already appeared before the grand jury or what questions prosecutors of New York’s Southern District have had for him. The date of the subpoena couldn’t be determined.
At issue is whether crimes were committed by concealing these payments to several women, including Karen McDougal, to keep them quiet in the waning months of the 2016 election. If there is someone who knows more about where the proverbial bodies are buried in the Trump Organization more than Michael Cohen, it’s Allen Weisselberg.
Mr. Weisselberg, a reserved accountant associates say is prized by Mr. Trump for his loyalty, has handled personal financial matters for Mr. Trump and has also been linked to payments made to two women who alleged they had sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.
Last year, Mr. Weisselberg arranged for the Trump Organization to pay Mr. Cohen, who had in October 2016 made a $130,000 payment to Stephanie Clifford, a former adult-film actress who claimed she had sex with Mr. Trump a decade earlier and agreed to remain quiet about it. Mr. Weisselberg didn’t know about the payment to Ms. Clifford, who goes professionally by Stormy Daniels, when he agreed to a $35,000 monthly retainer for Mr. Cohen, according to a person familiar with Mr. Weisselberg’s thinking.
During his effort to secure the retainer, Mr. Cohen showed Mr. Weisselberg records that he said related to expenditures he had made on behalf of Mr. Trump from his personal home-equity line of credit, this person said.
The hits keep coming for Trump. Weisselberg has been described as extremely “loyal” to Donald Trump, but that loyalty will be tested by a criminal probe. Hard to believe anyone likes Donald Trump enough to potentially go to federal prison for him.