WASHINGTON — Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity by federal investigators in New York in exchange for testimony about his role in the payment of hush money to a porn actress, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Weisselberg was one of the executives who helped arrange $420,000 in payments to President Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen to help reimburse him for money he paid to Stormy Daniels, prosecutors have said.
Weisselberg, who got his start working for the president’s father, is the person identified in court filings as ‘‘Executive-1,’’ who prosecutors said helped authorize $420,000 in payments to Cohen, one person said. He testified last month before a grand jury investigating Cohen.
In addition to being the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Weisselberg is also one of two trustees of the trust that controls the president’s assets.
It is unclear whether investigators in New York have sought to get information from Weisselberg beyond his knowledge of Cohen’s reimbursements.
Prosecutors have also granted immunity to David Pecker, a longtime Trump ally and chief executive of a tabloid publishing company, to describe his company’s role in suppressing stories about the alleged affairs, according to a person with knowledge of the inquiry.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Weisselberg’s immunity deal.
On Tuesday, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felonies, including two counts related to hush money to women who alleged affairs with Trump. He admitted he violated campaign finance law by helping provide Trump’s campaign excessive and illegal contributions.
According to court filings, Cohen in early 2017 submitted an invoice to Weisselberg seeking to be repaid for legal expenses and payments he said he made on Trump’s behalf.
Among the expenses for which he was seeking reimbursement: $130,000 that he paid to Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.
Weisselberg, working with another Trump Organization executive, helped arrange payments to Cohen that totaled $420,000.
A person familiar with the Trump Organization said Cohen explained the $130,000 expense as a settlement ‘‘of a personal nature.’’
Weisselberg did not know what $130,000 was for, according to one person familiar with the situation, and approved it because of Cohen’s longstanding role as counsel to Donald Trump.
In February 2017, Cohen sent ‘‘Executive-1’’ an invoice seeking two monthly payments of $35,000 ‘‘pursuant to [a] retainer agreement,’’ according to court documents.
Weisselberg forwarded Cohen’s invoice to another unidentified Trump Organization executive, ‘‘and it was approved,’’ prosecutors wrote.
Weisselberg then forwarded that e-mail to another employee, writing: ‘‘Please pay from the Trust. Post to legal expenses. Put ‘retainer for the months of January and February 2017’ in the description,’’ according to court filings.
In fact, prosecutors said, Cohen had no retainer agreement with the Trump Organization at the time, and the invoices were not in connection with any legal services he provided in 2017.
Weisselberg got his start in the family business by working as an accountant for Trump’s father and real estate magnate Fred Trump in the 1970s. He served as treasurer of the Donald J. Trump Foundation and has long handled the Trump family personal expenses.
A person close to the Trump family who requested anonymity to describe private discussions said Weisselberg is viewed with the highest respect by family, calling him ‘‘truly a class act.’’
The low-profile executive was thrust into the headlines last month, when Cohen attorney Lanny Davis released a secret recording Cohen made of a September 2016 conversation with then-candidate Trump.
In the recording, Cohen can be heard discussing the need for Trump to purchase the rights to Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal’s story of an affair with Trump. In their conversation, Cohen told Trump that he had discussed buying the rights to McDougal’s story with Weisselberg.
After the disclosure of the recording, Alan Futerfas, an attorney for the Trump Organization, disputed the idea that Weisselberg had signed off on Cohen’s plan.
‘‘Mr. Weisselberg is a bookkeeper who simply carries out directions from others about monetary payments and transfers,’’ he said.
But federal prosecutors in New York quickly subpoenaed Weisselberg to appear before a grand jury.
It is not uncommon for prosecutors to offer immunity to a person who may have wittingly or unwittingly facilitated a crime if investigators decide that person is more of a witness than a perpetrator, or if prosecutors decide they cannot get necessary testimony without offering some degree of immunity.
For example, when Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort went on trial earlier this month, prosecutors granted immunity to several people who worked on his taxes and finances.
In a separate development, the New York attorney general is moving to open a state criminal tax investigation into Cohen.
Attorney General Barbara Underwood has asked the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance to make a referral on Cohen, an administrative step that would allow her office to investigate him for possible violations of state tax law, according to a person familiar with the state inquiry.
A spokeswoman for the attorney general declined to comment. Guy Petrillo, an attorney for Cohen, did not respond to a request for comment.
Underwood’s request was first reported by The New York Times.
Separately, the New York state taxation agency has also issued a subpoena to Cohen, asking for information related to another state investigation — this one into the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Cohen has indicated he may cooperate with that inquiry.
Cohen is asking the public for help paying for his legal defense, and one anonymous donor already has put up $50,000, the Associated Press reported.
Through his lawyer, Cohen said collecting contributions through a GoFundMe page set up after his guilty plea this week is the only way to ensure the truth comes out about the president.