Jennifer Zarnowiec Weisselberg is the former daughter-in-law of Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg. He has served as the company’s chief financial officer for several decades. He has been indicted on charges related to the Trump Organization’s business practices and turned himself in on July 1, the New York Times reported.
Jennifer Weisselberg says she spoke with prosecutors several times during the investigation into the Trump Organization’s taxes and finances, as reported by NBC News. In April, she turned over several boxes of documents to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. CNN reported the documents included “bank account and credit card records, tax records, statements of net worth, and other financial records.”
She married Allen Weisselberg’s son, Barry, in 2004 and they had two children together. The couple divorced in 2018.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jennifer Weisselberg Says She Believed Her Former Luxury Apartment Had Been a Wedding Gift From Donald Trump
The investigation into the Trump Organization focused on the company’s finances and whether executives paid all of the necessary taxes. One of the properties that prosecutors looked at involved Jennifer Weisselberg. She used to live at 100 Central Park South, a luxury Manhattan building overlooking Central Park. According to Bloomberg, Weisselberg and her now ex-husband, Barry, moved into the apartment in 2005.
They never paid rent. Weisselberg told NBC News that for seven years, she and her husband paid only about $400 per month for utilities. She told the network she believed the apartment had been a wedding present from Donald Trump. She said she even wrote a thank you note to Trump and his wife Melania.
But as Bloomberg reports, Barry Weisselberg described the apartment as a corporate property belonging to the Trump Organization during the divorce proceedings. The Wall Street Journal explains that prosecutors investigated whether the company avoided paying taxes on properties like this luxury apartment.
But if the apartment was meant as a form of compensation, then the Weisselbergs could face legal trouble for not claiming it on tax returns, the New Yorker explained. The magazine reported in March 2021 that “prosecutors could use the omission against the couple, as part of an effort to squeeze Allen into cooperating with them.”
The Central Park South home sold for $2.5 million in 2016, according to Bloomberg.
Weisselberg also told prosecutors that while she was married, Trump and her former in-laws paid for other living expenses and covered school tuition for her children, NBC and the New York Times reported.
Barry Weisselberg started working for the Trump Organization in the 1990s, according to the Washington Post. He managed the Wollman Rink in Central Park, for which he says he earned a $200,000 annual salary.
2. Weisselberg Claims Her Ex-Husband Abused Her During Their 14-Year Marriage
Jennifer and Barry Weisselberg tied the knot in 2004. The Trumps were guests at the wedding, as shown in this photo shared on social media. The Weisselbergs were married for 14 years before they divorced. CBS News described the split as a “contentious battle.”
She told the network that her ex-husband abused her during their marriage. Jennifer Weisselberg asked a judge for a restraining order against Barry Weisselberg in 2020, CBS News reports. According to court filings cited by the network, Weisselberg accused Barry of “harassment, assault, sexual abuse, forcible touching, strangulation, identity theft, stalking and grand larceny.” She also claimed he caused permanent damage to an ear, eye and her jaw.
Barry Weisselberg denied ever hitting his wife and he has not been charged with any crimes against her. He also accused her of “bodily harm” in 2017, CBS reported.
On June 4, Jennifer Weisselberg wrote a public Facebook message about the alleged abuse she said she endured: “It is my RESPONSIBILITY to bring awareness & educate others about Domestic Abuse! I ask for ZERO TOLERANCE. Victims DO NOT LIE- IT IS VERY DANGEROUS & usually life- threatening for a woman or child to report abuse- the punishment is SEVERE & COMES IN MANY COWARDLY FORMS. It is Antiquated to think that only if a BRUISE OR A BREAK IS VISIBLE ON THE OUTSIDE THAT ABUSE IS OCCURRING! The REAL BRUISE & BREAKS ARE INSIDE. Psychological, emotional & INVISIBLE.”
3. She Lost Custody of Her Two Children in the Divorce
Jennifer Weisselberg lost custody of her two children as part of her divorce from Barry Weisselberg. In an interview with NBC News’ Tom Winter in March 2021, she suggested that the custody battle had played a role in her decision to speak publicly about her former in-laws. She also said she fighting a losing battle for custody.
“I have no reason to be here except that I am not a woman who is willing to live a life of secrecy out of fear any longer. They will out-resource me in the courts forever. And I have tried to be graceful and I have tried to handle this privately. And they are not agreeing to do so at all. what choice do I have, Tom?” The reporter responded, “You want your kids back.” She replied, “Yes! that’s why I’m here.”
Jennifer Weisselberg added she wasn’t concerned about whether critics perceived her as someone looking for revenge. “I can’t care anymore what people think. I know who I am. My kids know who I am. People that love me know who I am. And I absolutely wish that I personally didn’t have the attachment to somebody that has the same ethics as the Trump-Weisselberg family.”
But she also insisted to CBS News in April 2021 that her decision to cooperate with prosecutors was unrelated to her personal fight with her ex-husband and the rest of her in-laws. “Even if it was just the financial crime (investigation), I’d still be doing the same thing I’m doing,” she explained. “I don’t have to have extra motivation to do the right thing. I’m not like that. You know, I never have been, and I’m not, afraid of them.”
4. Weisselberg Claims Trump Flirted With Her & That Her Former Father-in-Law Failed to Defend Her
Jennifer Weisselberg told the New Yorker that she first met Trump before she married Barry Weisselberg. She said the former president came to Allen Weisselberg’s home on Long Island after Allen’s mother died. The family was observing shiva, which is the mourning period following burial in the Jewish tradition.
Jennifer Weisselberg said Trump was disrespectful toward the family and mocked the house, which the magazine described as “modest.” She claimed Trump had brought pictures of naked women, which were taken on his yacht, and showed them to people at the house.
She also claimed Trump flirted with her and that Allen Weisselberg did not object. “He didn’t stand up for me!” An attorney for Allen Weisselberg did not comment on the accusation when the New Yorker reached out for his side of the story.
During this interview, Jennifer Weisselberg claimed her former father-in-law “would know everything” about the Trump Organization. She also described her former father-in-law’s devotion to Trump as a “love affair.”
5. Weisselberg Was a Ballet Dancer & Grew Up in Florida
A search of online records shows Jennifer Zarnowiec Weisselberg was born in February 1972. According to her Facebook page, she grew up in Longwood, Florida. The city is located north of Orlando. She wrote on her page that she graduated from Lake Mary High School in 1990. She also wrote that she graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 1994.
Weisselberg was a dancer. She was named in an Orlando Sentinel article in 1985 after winning a dance competition. She was 13 at the time.
Weisselberg pursued dance as a professional career. She suggested to NBC News that she was still working as a ballerina when she married Barry Weisselberg in 2004. The New Yorker also described her as a “former professional dancer and choreographer.”