Forbes accuses Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg of lying under oath at fraud trial

New York Attorney General’s office looking into report claiming witness perjured himself over Trump Tower valuation

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 13 October 2023 11:14 EDT

Donald Trump says fraud case should be ‘dismissed’ as he arrives for trial at New York court

Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has been slammed by Forbes for his testimony in court from earlier this week, at Donald Trump’s New York fraud trial.

In an article published on Thursday (12 October), the ex-Trump employee is accused by the magazine of lying under oath when he took the stand this week.

His testimony was abruptly curtailed after lunch on Thursday and New York Attorney General Letitia James is now reportedly looking at the allegations.

The publication was referred to several times during Weisselberg’s testimony as part of the $250m civil fraud lawsuit brought against Donald Trump, his sons, his associates — including Weisselberg — and his company by the state of New York.

The defendants are charged with inflating Mr Trump’s net worth in order to get favourable financing terms from banks. They have all pleaded not guilty.

Judge Arthur Engoron made a pre-trial ruling that this was the case and ordered the cancellation of their business certificates — effectively putting an end to their real estate empire in New York (though this is now being appealed).

To arrive at the inflated figures that they presented to financial institutions, the court heard from the prosecution how the Trump Organization would allegedly in some cases use incorrect data.

The example given was tripling the square footage of Mr Trump’s triplex penthouse apartment at Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, claiming it was 30,000sq ft and not 10,996sq ft as it is listed in property records.

Weisselberg argued in court that he had little to do with the calculation of the penthouse’s value, repeating the claim several times and saying it was not a concern and a de minimus asset in relation to the overall financial condition of Mr Trump.

Dan Alexander, senior editor for Forbes, who has been reporting on the former president and his business for years, claimed that that is not true.

“A review of old emails and notes, some of which the attorney general’s office does not possess, show that Weisselberg absolutely thought about Trump’s apartment—and played a key role in trying to convince Forbes over the course of several years that it was worth more than it really was,” he wrote.

Former Trump Organization Executive Allen Weisselberg (L) sits in the courtroom during the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump

“Given the fact that these discussions continued for years and that Weisselberg took a very detailed approach in reviewing Trump’s assets with Forbes, it defies all logic to think he truly believes what he is now saying in court.”

Alexander then gave a detailed breakdown of communications about the size of the penthouse between journalists at Forbes and Weisselberg beginning in 2009, culminating in the publication in 2017 exposing the lie about the square footage.

The Trump Organization then changed the size of the penthouse on internal documents to its real size.

Weisselberg was demoted after being criminally charged in a separate tax case in 2021 and left the Trump Organization in January when was sentenced to five months in jail after pleading guilty.

The publication of Forbes’s accusation that Weisselberg perjured himself in the Lower Manhattan court came just before the lunch break.

Moments later in court, his separation document from when he left the Trump Organization was revealed showing that in exchange for $2m over two years, he was forbidden from voluntarily cooperating with the authorities but must cooperate with the Trump Organization.

On return from lunch, the former Trump associate did not retake the stand, but Judge Engoron said both the prosecution and defence could recall him during the remainder of the trial.

Citing a source close to Attorney General James, The Messenger reports that her office is now looking into the reporting by Forbes, which could explain the sudden pause in his testimony.

Throughout his time on the stand, Weisselberg said he could not recall many events or facts asked of him by the prosecution.

Shortly before he left the stand on Thursday his separation agreement from the Trump Organization was shown to the court, which included a clause saying he would not voluntarily cooperate with or provide information to authorities unless under subpoena.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in