(Reuters) – When lawyers asked Donald Trump more than a decade ago to identify who estimated values on some of his signature properties, he shrugged and pointed to his longtime accountant, Allen Weisselberg.
“I think ultimately probably Mr. Weisselberg,” he said, testifying in 2007 in a defamation lawsuit he brought against a journalist, a case that hinged on whether Trump had inflated the value of his business empire. “I never got too much involved, other than I would give my opinion.”
A judge dismissed that suit, but Trump’s comments illustrate the challenges now facing Weisselberg, 73, as he comes under scrutiny in Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s investigation into whether the former U.S. president and his Trump Organization committed financial crimes.
Few people have been as deeply involved in Trump’s finances as Weisselberg, a trusted figure in Trump’s family business who began working for Trump’s father, Fred, in 1973 at the company’s Brooklyn office, paying bills and tracking the rental payments from apartment towers.
Legal experts and a source familiar with the criminal investigation say prosecutors’ apparent goal is to convince Weisselberg to cooperate with the probe into Trump’s dealings.
“They want him to turn,” said the person…