Mr. Trump only mentioned the investigation in passing during a Fox News mayoral appearance on Wednesday. Listing his history of legal battles, he said, “New York radical left prosecutors are suing me.”
“You still have to fight,” he said. “You have to keep fighting.”
An accountant who began his career working for Mr. Trump’s father almost half a century ago, Mr. Weisselberg was the financial custodian of the Trump Organization for more than two decades and most recently ran the company. with Mr. Trump’s adult sons while Mr. Trump was in the White House.
Famous for his hard work – he once said he “didn’t take a vacation” – Mr. Weisselberg has gained an unparalleled insight into the inner workings of the company and his hand-to-hand brawls with business partners . Mr. Weisselberg “knows every penny that comes out of the building,” wrote Corey Lewandowski, a former Trump campaign official, in the book he co-authored, “Let Trump Be Trump.”
Now that he faces charges, Mr Weisselberg, 73, could still cooperate with prosecutors. If he ultimately pleads guilty and makes a deal, he could do considerable damage to Mr. Trump, who for decades has depended on his unwavering loyalty, once declaring with “100%” certainty that Mr. Weisselberg will not. had not betrayed.
The two began working closely together in the late 1970s, with Mr. Weisselberg taking time off nights and weekends to manage projects for Mr. Trump, his boss’s ambitious son, Fred Trump. Mr. Weisselberg said in a 2015 deposition that he has been helping with Mr. Trump’s tax returns since at least the 1990s, when Mr. Trump appointed him chief financial officer of the organization.
Mr. Weisselberg has remained steadfastly loyal to the company even as his own name surfaced during congressional and federal investigations into Mr. Trump. Although Mr Weisselberg was never the target of these investigations, he has long been at the center of the district attorney’s investigation, which began in August 2018.
As prosecutors focused on the benefits he and his family received from Mr. Trump, they looked at tens of thousands of dollars in tuition for one of Mr. Weisselberg’s grandchildren, an apartment rent-free on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and leased Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Mr Weisselberg’s wife also received her own rented Mercedes.