Ex-Trump deputy Weisselberg pleads guilty to perjury over penthouse size

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg on Monday pleaded guilty to perjury charges for misleading New York state investigators about financial statements that overstated the size of Donald Trump's penthouse.

Judge Laurie Peterson at a hearing in Manhattan criminal court said she would sentence Weisselberg, 76, to five months in jail. That would mark the second stint behind bars for the former U.S. president's longtime loyal deputy, who was led into the courtroom in handcuffs after surrendering earlier Monday.

Weisselberg's plea comes ahead of Trump's criminal trial starting March 25 on charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney of falsifying business records to cover up hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.

Trump, who faces three other criminal indictments related to efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss and his handling of government documents, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

As part of his plea agreement, Weisselberg admitted to lying on the witness stand in a recent civil fraud trial against Trump and during two earlier depositions with the New York state attorney general's office about his role in Trump's financial statements.

In some of those statements, Trump claimed his Manhattan penthouse was more than 30,000 square feet, nearly three times the real size.

Weisselberg testified at the trial on Oct. 10 that he was not involved in an incorrect valuation of the penthouse - one of a series of misleading financial statements that New York state Attorney General Letitia James said amounted to a fraudulent effort to dupe lenders.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office, which brought Monday's charges against Weisselberg, said in a felony complaint that the former CFO's emails showed he was in fact paying close attention to the apartment.

Trump's 2015 and 2016 financial statements valued the unit at $327 million, which James called "absurd." Trump in later years valued the unit at between $105.9 and $131.3 million, which James said were also inflated.

Peterson set Weisselberg's sentencing date for April 10.

"Allen Weisselberg looks forward to putting this situation behind him," his lawyer Seth Rosenberg said in a statement.


The judge overseeing James' case, Arthur Engoron, ordered Weisselberg last month to pay $1.1 million including interest.

Engoron wrote that Weisselberg's testimony at the trial was unreliable because he was still awaiting four payments from the Trump Organization as part of a severance agreement that bars him from cooperating with any entity "adverse" to the real estate company.

"The Trump Organization keeps Weisselberg on a short leash, and it shows," the judge wrote.

Engoron ordered Trump, the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, to pay $454.2 million. Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the trial part of a political witchhunt aimed at derailing his third run for the White House.

Weisselberg's written plea agreement did not indicate he would be cooperating with the District Attorney.

Weisselberg worked for the former president's family for half a century.

He spent around three months in New York's Rikers Island jail in 2023 after pleading guilty to participating in a 15-year tax fraud scheme at the Trump Organization.

Weisselberg had testified at the Trump Organization's 2022 trial that found the company guilty of all charges and fined $1.6 million. Trump was not charged in that case.

(Additional reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu, David Ljunggren and Chizu Nomiyama)