(Bloomberg) -- Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of Donald Trump’s real estate company, pleaded guilty to perjury over false testimony he gave to support Trump in New York state’s civil fraud case.

Weisselberg, who was led into a lower Manhattan courtroom in handcuffs Monday, was also a defendant in the civil suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. He entered his plea following talks with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and, under an agreement with Bragg’s office, will be sentenced to five months in jail when he is sentenced next month.

The development comes as Trump is appealing his loss in the fraud case. That trial resulted in a $454 million judgment against him and his company for inflating the value of his assets by billions of dollars a year for more than a decade to get better terms on loans from Deutsche Bank AG and other lenders.

But it also comes just before the March 25 start of Trump’s criminal trial over hush money payments made to the porn star Stormy Daniels in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Weisselberg isn’t expected to testify against Trump in the trial, but Bragg’s office could use him to corroborate testimony from their star witness, Michael Cohen. 

Cohen is expected to testify about the payments and how Trump paid him back following the election by putting him on a “retainer” in 2017. Trump’s lawyers will seek to portray Cohen as a serial liar. Weisselberg could be used to support Cohen’s testimony or to counter the testimony of other Trump Organization witnesses seeking to protect the former president.

A Crime, ‘Plain and Simple’

Weisselberg, 76, pleaded guilty over two incidents in which he lied under oath about his participation in the inflation of the Trump assets, specifically about the size of a Trump Tower penthouse. Before he struck his plea deal with prosecutors, he was facing five counts of first-degree perjury, a felony punishable by as many as seven years in prison. He will be sentenced on April 10 and will be allowed to remain free in the meantime.

“It is a crime to lie in depositions and at trial — plain and simple,” a spokesperson for Bragg said in a statement. “Allen Weisselberg took an oath to be truthful, and then committed perjury both at depositions during the New York State attorney general’s investigation and proceeding, as well as at their recent trial.”

“Allen Weisselberg looks forward to putting this situation behind him,” his lawyer Seth Rosenberg said in a statement.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung called Bragg’s prosecution a “desperate pursuit” of Trump.

“The DA has turned a blind eye to the admitted and repeated perjury of their star witness, Michael Cohen, and has been on a crusade of vindictive and oppressive pressure leading, today, to a forced plea by Allen H. Weisselberg,” he said in a statement.

‘Falsus in Uno’ 

Weisselberg was found liable in the civil fraud trail and hit with a $1 million penalty. A few weeks before issuing his Feb. 16 verdict, including the massive judgment against Trump, the judge who oversaw the trial said he was considering invoking the doctrine of “falsus in uno” — the start of the Latin phrase for “false in one thing, false in everything” — to conclude that none of Weisselberg’s testimony was credible in light of the plea talks. 

The plea was expected following a New York Times report that Weisselberg was in talks with Bragg’s office. 

Weisselberg, who began work for Trump’s father, was the longstanding finance chief for the family business before he was charged with tax fraud in July 2021 for accepting unreported perks like luxury housing and cars as salary. He subsequently stepped down from his role, pleaded guilty in 2022 and was sentenced to five months in jail. He also agreed to testify against the company, which was also convicted of tax fraud.

--With assistance from Greg Farrell.

(Adds comment from Weisselberg’s lawyer.)

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