The man who knows the most about Donald Trump’s murky finances has been granted immunity from prosecution in the case against the President’s former lawyer.
A cooperation deal between Weisselberg and prosecutors could be hugely damaging to Trump given the executive’s longtime role in Trump’s business affairs. Weisselberg has worked for the Trump family for more than four decades, including as treasurer for the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
He is one of three executives of the Trump Organization, the umbrella organisation that covers the 500 or so business entities owned by the President. The other two executives are the President’s elder sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.
Adding to Trump’s woes, if evidence of alleged crimes is found, state Attorney General Barbara Underwood could force Trump to release his tax returns, something he has long-resisted.
Two executives at American Media Inc, which publishes the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid reportedly involved in making the payments, have also been granted immunity in the investigation, according to reports.
One of the executives is American Media Chief Executive David Pecker, a longtime Trump friend.
The latest developments come in a torrid week for Trump: his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on eight counts of fraud and Michael Cohen, admitted campaign finance violations.
Cohen admitted to arranging “hush money” payments before the November 2016 US presidential election to at least two women who had said they had affairs with Trump.
He then claimed he could be impeached “because I’ve done a great job”.
The President appeared to be getting on with business as usual on Friday, announcing he had ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to delay his planned trip to North Korea trip because “we are not making sufficient progress” on denuclearisation.
Trump posted on Twitter: “Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved. In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!”
It follows a meeting between the President and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore back in June.