Tip Of The Weisselberg | Crooked Media
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August 18, 2022
What A Day
Tip Of The Weisselberg

In This Episode

  • A federal judge in Florida announced Thursday he is “inclined” to release parts of the affidavit that led to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. That means it could be made public, giving the Justice Department a week to submit its redactions. Meanwhile, Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, pleaded guilty to tax evasion – and agreed to testify in a broader investigation of the company.
  • And in headlines: Israeli forces raided the offices of seven Palestinian rights groups, the U.S. boost its supply of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine, and a federal judge ordered Starbucks to re-hire seven employees fired for union organizing.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Friday, August 19th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 

 

Erin Ryan: And I’m Erin Ryan, and this is What A Day where we’re here to help if anyone wants thoughts on what they should wear to Ben Affleck and J-Lo’s wedding this weekend, I RSVP’d, did you Priyanka? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, I’m already there. So. 

 

Erin Ryan: You’re already there? You’re helping them set up? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Live from, I’m. Where are we, Georgia? 

 

Erin Ryan: Yes. You’re in Georgia. Yes. [music break]

 

Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, the U.S. is stepping up its response to monkeypox. Plus, Finland’s prime minister is fighting for her right to party. 

 

Erin Ryan: Love that for her. But first, a federal judge in Florida made waves yesterday when he announced that he is, quote, “inclined to release the affidavit that led to the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. That means it could be made public. That is after federal law enforcement submit what they want to be redacted. Judge Bruce E. Reinhart, the same judge who signed off on the search warrant itself, says that the feds have until next Thursday to choose which parts of the documents should get blacked out. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. Okay. So who is behind this push to get this affidavit released? 

 

Erin Ryan: Several news organizations, including ABC News, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post argue that the document that ultimately gave the FBI permission to search the former president’s residence should be made public. Here is Deanna Shullman, a lawyer representing some of those media outlets, speaking to reporters outside of the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach. 

 

[clip of Deanna Shullman] This is a proceeding that’s about the credibility of all the players. So whether the judge is doing his job, whether the DOJ is doing its job, that is the proper function of these access proceedings and why the public is entitled to access, that is the public interest. We are entitled to monitor the affairs of our government at all levels, and that is the interest in this essence that we were asserting today. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. Okay. So they want to see this, but who is against this happening? 

 

Erin Ryan: Attorneys for the Department of Justice argued that releasing an affidavit like this while an investigation is still in its quote “early stages” could jeopardize the outcome. That’s because an unredacted affidavit would contain information on witnesses and what gave officials probable cause to believe a crime had occurred. But Judge Reinhart has given the federal government the opportunity to redact any details that might endanger their case. So it’s unlikely that the really juicy stuff like who in Trump’s orbit has been talking to the FBI, which we’re all dying to know, including probably Donald Trump and uh what they spilled. It’s unlikely that that would be made public at this time. That sort of information doesn’t typically come out until criminal charges are filed. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. Okay. So tough break for everybody who wanted the tea but I suppose very understandable for this person’s safety. So where does the former president stand on all of this? Do I even want to know? 

 

Erin Ryan: For a guy who never shuts up, it’s really hard to actually tell what he really wants. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. 

 

Erin Ryan: Because his lawyers sat silently in court on Thursday. They didn’t argue for or against the document being released. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Weird strategy. Okay.

 

Erin Ryan: They were just there to witness. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. 

 

Erin Ryan: But the former guy himself has been all caps sailing into the cesspool that is Truth Social. About how he does want the full affidavit released. The problem with that is even he has no idea what’s in it. And it’s highly possible nay probable that whatever is in there will make him look even worse than he already does. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Tough to do. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. CNN reports that Trump’s allies are banding about the possibility of releasing security footage from the Mar-a-Lago raid to the public, arguing it would be good to keep the story in the news to rile up his base. But there’s also the possibility that if the public sees the sheer volume of documents he carted off from the White House, boxes and boxes that might actually drive home how serious his offense is. Like with Hillary’s emails, you can’t picture. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Erin Ryan: That volume, but when you see 15 boxes of documents. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: You’re like, maybe you shouldn’t have taken all those home. That’s kind of weird. 

 

Erin Ryan: You put in a lot of effort to do something you weren’t supposed to do. This wasn’t a whoopsie daisy. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: It was like a deliberate effort. According to the Justice Department attorneys. The full affidavit is, quote, “very detailed and reasonably lengthy”, unquote. So if it does get released, I’ve got my doubts that the former president would actually read it unless Judge Reinhart orders the Justice Department to release a version of it that is mostly pictures. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. So he is getting the recap from Fox News. Good for him. I suppose that’s nothing out of the ordinary. So what this all amounts to is an announcement that next Thursday the judge will consider whether to release a redacted affidavit at some point. TBD in the future. So many secrets, so much intrigue. Is this a criminal case or is this Taylor Swift teasing a new album? We will never know. 

 

Erin Ryan: If it were both, that would be pretty incredible. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 

 

Erin Ryan: If Taylor somehow figured out a way to drop hints about her next project. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: In the affidavit. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Congratulation. Hats off to you. 

 

Erin Ryan: Master of publicity. Master of publicity. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. You know, this isn’t the only thing happening in Trumpworld. It’s actually one of, like, 5 million right now. But there is more tough news. Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, pleaded guilty yesterday for his role in the company’s alleged tax fraud scheme. So as part of his plea deal, Weisselberg agreed to testify against the Trump Organization during the trial. We touched on this briefly in yesterday’s show, but we wanted to give you some more details now that we have them. 

 

Erin Ryan: All right. So let’s start with what he’s charged with here. Can you give us more details? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. So prosecutors allege that from 2005 up until July of this year, the Trump Organization and Weisselberg committed tax fraud in an effort to pay their executives off the books. So this means that instead of paying them money that would be taxed like any normal company would like you or I gets paid. They try to compensate employees with crazy perks in addition to, you know, whatever baseline amount they were being paid. So in Weisselberg’s case, the business paid for his rent and utilities for an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, an expensive place to be, leases for not one, but two Mercedes cars. 

 

Erin Ryan: Okay, pause. Why does he need two cars if he’s living on the Upper West Side? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Who knows? Is there space to park this? Absolutely not. 

 

Erin Ryan: Where are you parking, sir? Where are you parking your two Mercedes? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: We’d love to know. Not included whether or not the parking was covered in this. 

 

Erin Ryan: Because that’s at least $5 million dollars. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. Private school tuitions for his grandkids and more. So basically, he is living life and not paying taxes on any of this additional stuff, the total value of which is estimated to be around $1.7 million dollars. Obviously, that is not allowed. He was charged with 15 felonies and in pleading guilty to those, he admitted that he didn’t tell his accountant about those benefits and knowingly left them off of his personal tax returns. 

 

Erin Ryan: Sounds pretty crimey to me. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely does. 

 

Erin Ryan: Let’s talk about this deal that he took. What does it mean? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So he was facing up to 15 years in prison for his role in this tax fraud scheme. But in exchange for his testimony against the Trump Organization, in a separate trial set to begin in October, he will instead serve five months and get five years probation. According to the New York Times, with good behavior, this will get cut down to just 100 days, and he has to pay nearly $2 million dollars in taxes, penalties and interest. 

 

Erin Ryan: All right. So time for the question we all want to know, what if anything does this mean for Donald Trump? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So in this case, there aren’t specific members of the Trump family who are accused of wrongdoing. Weisselberg was charged as an individual and the Trump organization was charged as a whole. So if the organization is convicted of criminal tax fraud, that is a huge deal, really bad. They can’t do business in the way they do now. They could have to pay fines and taxes that they owe, but nobody is going to prison for that, including Donald Trump. So we did not get him here. 

 

Erin Ryan: Mmm. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Sadly for everyone who’s been waiting at home. However, I should note that Weisselberg isn’t cooperating with another separate criminal case in New York against Trump or any of the other criminal investigations involving Trump. But prosecutors can point to any admissions in his testimony of conspiring with the Trump Organization in that criminal case and the other ones. So still could be bad. 

 

Erin Ryan: Donald Trump is the greased pig of the American legal system. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Quite truly. 

 

Erin Ryan: Just running around, squealing all over the place. Nobody can catch him. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Escaping everybody’s clutches. 

 

Erin Ryan: Indeed. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: That’s exactly what’s happening. That is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who hasn’t even taken the field as a Cleveland Brown yet, will now be suspended for 11 games without pay following accusations of sexual misconduct by over two dozen women. Initially, Watson was benched for just six games, but that penalty was revised yesterday and he’ll have to go through a mandatory mental health treatment plan as well. Watson must also pay a $5 million dollar fine, the largest financial penalty ever imposed on an NFL player. But it pales in comparison to his five year contract with the Browns, which is worth $230 million dollars. 

 

Erin Ryan: What a complete and utter disaster. And it couldn’t have happened to a Cleveland Browns [?]. Israeli forces raided the offices of seven Palestinian rights groups in the West Bank yesterday, forcing them to shut down all operations. These offices were located in the city of Ramallah, where soldiers broke into the premises, confiscated documents and welded the door shut to keep people from entering. Authorities then left behind notices declaring the organizations to be, quote unquote, “unlawful”. This comes after the Israeli government accused most of these groups of being terrorist organizations late last year. But the international community has called these accusations baseless. All seven organizations spoke out against Israel for the raids yesterday, accusing the government of targeting them and the essential services they provide to Palestinians, such as legal aid for detainees. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, this is awful. 

 

Erin Ryan: A mess. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: That’s not good news. U.S. officials announced yesterday that they will boost the country’s available supply of the monkeypox vaccine called Jynneos by an extra 1.8 million doses. The White House’s monkeypox response coordinator, Bob Fenton, also said that they’re creating a pilot program to reserve vaccines specifically for the LGBTQ population. 

 

[clip of Bob Fenton] That will provide up to 50,000 doses from the national stockpile to be made available for pride and other events that will have high attendance of gay and bisexual men. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: For any local health department to get these newly available vials, they must agree to give the vaccine in a specific way, designed to stretch out the number of shots instead of injecting full doses into a person’s fat, a smaller amount would just go under the skin. However, some health experts questioned whether there is enough data to show that this method will effectively build up people’s immunity. 

 

Erin Ryan: Well, Priyanka. I hope it does. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I know. Yeah. Please don’t um waste this. 

 

Erin Ryan: Seems like a pretty big risk. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: This has one job, and it’s to keep people safe. So please, let’s make sure it does that. 

 

Erin Ryan: I really hope it works. A federal judge ordered Starbucks to rehire seven pro-union employees in Memphis who the company fired last February. Starbucks denied any wrongdoing, but yesterday the judge agreed with the National Labor Relations Board, which argued that the firings violated the baristas right to organize. The workers have been calling themselves the Memphis Seven. And here’s one of them in a video they shared with the news outlet More Perfect Union. 

 

[clip of Mickey Taylor] Hello. Mickey Taylor here from the reinstated Memphis Seven. And I just want to say thank everybody for the support. We won. Absolutely. We won. And I’m so, so excited. Thank you. 

 

Erin Ryan: And just in time for PSL Seas on. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 

 

Erin Ryan: Right around the corner. Starbucks has four days left to give them their forest green aprons back so they can resume upselling you on four day old cake pops. According to the union Starbucks Workers United, the company has fired around 75 union leaders and unionizing baristas across the country. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, feels uh blatantly illegal to me, but uh they continue to do it. 

 

Erin Ryan: Huh. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It doesn’t really seem to be stopping them. 

 

Erin Ryan: Hmm, it should. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Now that his party has hitched its wagon to the likes of Georgia’s Herschel Walker and Pennsylvania’s Dr. Oz, Mitch McConnell is expressing some concerns about, quote, “candidate quality in mid-term Senate races”. 

 

Erin Ryan: Hmm. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I wonder why. The Senate minority leader spoke with reporters yesterday in Kentucky and he theorized that based on the people who are running, Republicans are more likely to flip the House than the Senate. What a delicate way to put that. This idea won’t surprise anyone who has watched Dr. Oz go grocery shopping or learned one single thing about Herschel Walker. Meanwhile, Republicans are spending big to back a Senate candidate who seems slightly more viable. Proud techno hillbilly J.D. Vance. Yesterday, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that a McConnell aligned PAC is spending $28 million dollars on radio and TV ads to support Vance in Ohio, where he’s running in a close race against Democrat Tim Ryan. Please, please do not vote for this man. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah, don’t. And you have Mitch McConnell. A man with a 20% approval rating. Like– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: That being like uhh– 

 

Erin Ryan: He’s concerned about candidate quality. That’s a bad sign. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: Finland’s millennial prime minister has achieved something amazing. She has a group of friends who are down to turn the hell up in their mid-to-late thirties. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Love that. 

 

Erin Ryan: [laugh] I mean, are they new friends? Because that would be truly amazing if she made those friends in her mid to late thirties. But instead of being celebrated, Sanna Marin is being criticized since Instagram videos of the world’s second youngest head of state dancing and partying with friends surfaced this Wednesday. She’s been hounded by members of the opposition party. Talk about an opposition party. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 

 

Erin Ryan: They’re opposed to parties in general. Some of whom are calling for her to take a drug test. For her part, Marin expressed a willingness to put her money where her sterile plastic cup is and said, quote, “I did not take drugs, nor did I consume anything other than alcohol.” She could have stopped there, but she took it one step further, adding, quote, “I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve seen or known others using drugs.” Lady. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Alright. 

 

Erin Ryan: In Europe. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Alright. 

 

Erin Ryan: Partying and yes, you have. And that’s okay.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: She didn’t need to lie. We believed you. Like you were down to pee in the cup. I was here being like, I don’t even need to see it. She’s just having a good time. Let her live her life. You don’t have to lie here. It’s fine.

 

Erin Ryan: It’s fine. And it sounds like the people who are in the opposition party are just absolutely terrible. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: And really highlight the necessity of her being in the office that she has, because otherwise the Karen party would be ruling Finland and nobody wants that. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Seems like it. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads with some info about the dangerous collision between early 2000s laptop technology and late eighties pop music technology. 

 

[AD BREAK]. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Friday WAD squad and today we’re introducing a new segment called Geeks WAD, where we apply high level scientific analysis to an important story from the world of tech. For those of you who are wondering, Geeks WAD is spelled with the word geeks space and then the acronym WAD. No relation to the place where they fix your computer at Best Buy. We will probably have to bleep those words out so we do not get sued. Anyways. A vulnerability has been exposed in Windows XP era laptops and not a second too soon. The problem has just been given an official common vulnerabilities and exposures or CVE number and apparently I have to read it to you all, which is great for me. It is CVE-2022-38392. And essentially it manifests when these laptops play the 1989 hit song Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson [laughter] and subsequently crash because the song’s specific audio frequencies resonate with the computer hard drives’ operating frequencies and caused the drives to vibrate out of control. 

 

Erin Ryan: Incredible. Same. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 

 

Erin Ryan: Same. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Truly same. Here is a clip from the song. So you get a sense of its awesome power if you’re listening to this podcast on a laptop from 2005. Please mute and turn the volume back on in 20 seconds. 

 

[clip of Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson] [music by Janet Jackson playing]

 

Priyanka Aribindi: This sounds like something that would be very cutting edge in its time, you know, like where it’s like this is a new sound. 

 

Erin Ryan: Priyanka do not besmirch. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: No, no, no. I don’t mean in a bad way. I mean, that’s probably why the computers are freaking out. They’re like, What is this? 

 

Erin Ryan: Oh, so you’re saying it was like a future looking. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: Janet Jackson saw the future. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: She did. 

 

Erin Ryan: And she was like, I’m going to fuck with some computers in the year 2005. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Well, maybe she didn’t intend, but the computers. I understand why they’re freaking out. 

 

Erin Ryan: Right? It would be like if you were, like cryogenically frozen in 1975 and you woke up in 1989 and Rhythm Nation was playing. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. And you’d be like, what is going on? 

 

Erin Ryan: What? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that’s what these computers are. Obviously, we have known about Janet Jackson’s ability to bring us to our knees for decades, but we didn’t know she could also do this to our circuit boards. So, Erin, what is your take on this? 

 

Erin Ryan: Okay. I really want this technology to have a broader implication. I wonder if there’s a Janet Jackson song that we can play at a certain frequency and volume outside of, say, the Navient headquarters, [laughter] erase some student loan payments for some people. I think that we could probably find a Janet Jackson song that we play really loudly outside of maybe a bank that’s charging excessive overdraft fees. Go ahead and erase that, deposit a cool grand in everybody’s account. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It feels like a weapon for good.

 

Erin Ryan: I feel like we should be using the power bops of the late eighties and early nineties to right social injustices. And I think that we can do it if there is a smart enough person listening, please become a mad scientist and make this your life goal. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Well, I mean, I think all it requires is us just doing, like a WAD, you know, picking a time. Everybody just drive outside wherever with the computers and play this song on full volume and then watch as our society crumbles. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yes, exactly. I mean, it’s going to be trial and error. We have to try all kinds of different songs, but they have to be dance jams and they have to be awesome. And you have to play them very, very loudly. And something is bound to work. It’s like the principle of having like a million monkeys on a million typewriters. Eventually one of them will write Shakespeare. Eventually, we will somehow dismantle the power structures that oppress us. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 

 

Erin Ryan: With music. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: This is our first Geeks WAD, but I feel like it’s pretty great. 

 

Erin Ryan: I think this is maybe our thesis for all future Geeks WAD. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It might be. Anyways, that was Geeks WAD. Remember to restart your computer at least once every year. 

 

Erin Ryan: I will not be updating. No. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely no. 

 

Erin Ryan: No to the update every single day. No.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: No, it’s just a suggestion. [music break]. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Turn up with the Prime Minister of Finland and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Erin Ryan: And if you’re into reading and not just descriptions of Janet Jackson related computer problems like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Erin Ryan. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 

 

[spoken together] And here’s to you Ben and J-Lo. 

 

Erin Ryan: She’s not J-Lo anymore. She changed her name. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Oh to. 

 

Erin Ryan: J-Aff.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: J-Aff? 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Ugh, Jaffleck. Oh, that’s kind of cool.

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: We have some suggestions to the artist formerly known as J-Lo. [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producers are Lita Martínez and Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.