Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has become the third key Jewish associate of President Trump to turn on him — tightening the legal noose around the president.
Federal prosecutors have granted immunity to Weisselberg in a probe involving hush money paid to a porn star and a Playboy model in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Weisselberg was called to testify before a federal grand jury earlier this year, the Journal said.
Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, who arranged hush-money payments to the two women who alleged affairs with Trump , pleaded guilty on Tuesday to campaign finance violations and other charges. He said Trump directed him to arrange the payments.
David Pecker, who is also Jewish, and another exec at American Media Inc, which publishes the National Enquirer, a tabloid reportedly involved in making the payments, have also been granted immunity in the investigation, according to media reports.
The latest immunity deal raises the danger to Trump from the probe because Weisselberg is one of his most trusted and closest business associates.
Weisselberg was born in Brooklyn and attended Pace University before going to work for Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump.
Weisselberg, a low-key figure who was catapulted to CFO of the Trump Organization when Trump stepped back from day-to-day operations after the 2016 election, has given two addresses, one on Long Island and one in a Trump property on Manhattan’s upper West Side.
He appears to have been a member of a Temple Beth-El of Bellmore, a Conservative synagogue on Long Island’s south shore, based on a synagogue newsletter from 2014. He also made a donation to that synagogue in March 2018.
Weisselberg is also treasurer of the scandal-tinged Donald J. Trump Foundation.
The foundation gave some support to Jewish causes, including the Anti-Defamation League and the UJA-Federation of New York.
But New York prosecutors filed suit against the foundation in June, charging that Trump used the foundation as a piggy-bank for dubious pay-outs such as settling personal legal bills and buying a $10,000 portrait of Trump that was hung at one of his glitzy golf resorts.
The foundation is in legal limbo. Trump tried to dissolve it after the 2016 election, but officials say that cannot happen until legal questions are resolved.—With Josh Nathan-Kazis and Reuters
Allen Weisselberg Is Third Jewish Pal To Flip On Trump
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner