Former President Donald Trump is taking the saying "keep your friends close and your enemies closer," to heart. The Washington Post reported Monday that instead of hanging out at his Bedminster golf club, Trump is holding up in Trump Tower to keep an eye on his CFO Allen Weisselberg as rumors of indictments loom.
The New York Times reported last week that sources close to the Manhattan District Attorney's office say Weisselberg's indictment on tax issues will come any time within the next few months. The Washington Post reported that last week, Weisselberg's blue Mercedes slipped into the private garage at Trump Tower, about 40 minutes after Trump too arrived.
"Every day that Weisselberg arrives for work at Trump Tower — as he did that day, steering in from his Upper West Side apartment across town — could be seen as a public signal that he is sticking with Trump and deflecting investigators' advances," wrote The Post.
The DA's office impaneled a grand jury that will meet three days a week for six months, which is considerably longer than most grand juries work.
Weisselberg's former daughter-in-law has appeared on television for the past several weeks explaining her own cooperation with the DA's office and giving insight into what she thinks Weissleberg will do. According to Jennifer Weisselberg, there's no way her former father-in-law will spend the rest of his life in jail for Donald Trump.
"Yet officials involved in the Weisselberg investigation have grown frustrated about what they view as a lack of cooperation from Weisselberg and believe he continues to regularly speak with Trump, according to a person familiar with the inquiry," The Post reported.
The Post cited Tristan Snell, the former New York attorney general's office lawyer who led the 2016 investigation into Trump University saying, "Just to say 'He's the money man' actually underestimates his role. He was more than that even. He was the whole enchilada. Allen Weisselberg really ran the whole company."
Given Trump's refusal to write anything down or use email, personal accounts will be key in the investigation into whether he defrauded banks and the government to artificially inflate or deflate his assets.
"Without Weisselberg's cooperation, legal experts say, it's unclear whether prosecutors would be able to establish any required intent on Trump's part were they to allege that the Trump Organization or any of its officers committed crimes. (The district attorney has the option to indict companies rather than individuals)," The Post explained.
According to Michael Cohen, the one-time Trump lawyer who was thrown under the bus for Trump's hush-money payments to former lovers, Trump has been lying on his taxes for a very long time and Weisselberg knows everything. He could be the one to throw Trump to the legal wolves if it comes down to the two of them.
Cohen infamously described what Weisselberg is going through, noting that the Trump family is likely promising that they'll take care of him and that he's family. In the end, however, when it comes down to the Weisselberg or the Trump family, they'll protect their own over the CFO, just as they did with Cohen.
"I think he's playing Russian roulette with the district attorney's office if he thinks that even if he is indicted he is going to get a pass," the Post cited New York defense lawyer Robert C. Gottlieb, who previously served as a prosecutor for the district attorney's office. "We're not talking about fraud involving a few thousand dollars, we're talking about allegations of a massive fraud involving millions of dollars over an extended period of time in which he was CFO."
Criminal defense attorney Earl Ward told The Post that someone like Weisselberg could easily walk away with a slap on the wrist, but it isn't likely to happen in Weisselberg's case. "Only because of the real target in this investigation," which is Donald Trump.
"Typically in state court in New York County if you're charged with a financial crime and you're a rich millionaire you're not going to go to jail — it rarely happens," he continued. "The difference here is that there's a real target in this investigation and given who that target is, I'd be surprised if [Weisselberg] gets off scot free."