Trump Firm’s Ex-Finance Chief Was Key to Hush-Money Deal, Witness Says

The name of Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, arose repeatedly on Monday during the criminal trial of his former boss, as a former employee that Mr. Weisselberg knew about the payments at the heart of the trial.

The former Trump Organization employee on the stand, Jeffrey S. McConney, said that Mr. Weisselberg had instructed him in early 2017 to send money to Donald J. Trump’s former fixer, Michael D. Cohen. A few months earlier, Mr. Cohen paid $130,000 from a home equity credit line to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohen was repaid for that deal throughout 2017 in 11 checks — nine of them originating from Mr. Trump’s personal banking account — that were recorded as “legal expenses” in Trump Organization records. Prosecutors have accused Mr. Trump of falsifying those business records to conceal the hush-money deal.

The checks to Mr. Cohen ultimately totaled $420,000 — covering the hush money, a bonus and additional funds to cover taxes.

Mr. McConney joined the Trump Organization in 1987 and worked as its corporate controller and reported to Mr. Weisselberg. He said he had a close relationship with Mr. Weisselberg and ate lunch with him every day. For nearly 50 years, Mr. Weisselberg worked for Mr. Trump’s family business, with an unflinching devotion to the former president.

Mr. Weisselberg, who previously pleaded guilty to perjury in another case involving Mr. Trump, is not expected to testify in the case.

He and Mr. McConney were sued along with Mr. Trump in a civil fraud case brought by the New York attorney general’s office. In his ruling, the judge in that case, Arthur F. Engoron, issued a fine of more than $450 million to Mr. Trump and gave a lifetime ban to Mr. Weisselberg from serving in a financial management role in any New York company.

Last month, Mr. Weisselberg, 76, was sentenced to five months in jail after pleading guilty to lying during his testimony in that case. Last year, he served about three months for tax fraud at the Rikers Island jail.

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