One day after news broke that David Pecker, CEO of the National Enquirer’s parent company and longtime friend of Donald Trump, had been granted immunity by federal investigators in the Michael Cohen probe, The Wall Street Journal reported that a similar deal has been granted to longtime CFO of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg.
The Journal reported Friday that according to “people familiar with the matter,” Weisselberg “was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Michael Cohen,” who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight felonious counts, including two counts involving potential campaign finance violations in which he implicated Trump.
The development ramps up the legal and political pressure on the president over his “hush money” payments to a porn star and a former Playmate.
Weisselberg was subpoenaed in July after his name was mentioned in a tape secretly recorded by Cohen in September 2016 featuring him and his former client Trump discussing the possible purchase of the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story about her alleged past affair with Trump.
On the tape released by Cohen’s team, Trump’s former “fixer” says he needs to create a company through which he could buy the rights to McDougal’s story from Pecker’s American Media Inc, parent company of the National Enquirer. “I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up,” said Cohen.
The immunity deal with Weisselberg is similar to that given to Pecker, who provided investigators more details about how much Trump knew about Cohen’s admitted attempts to paying the two women.
Thus far, the Trump Organization and the White House have not offered any response to the story.
Just hours after reports of Pecker’s immunity deal, the Associated Press reported that his Enquirer tabloid allegedly locked potentially “damaging” stories about Trump in a “catch-and-kill” safe to protect him ahead of the 2016 election.