Report: Trump tapped felon as senior adviser
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GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE appointed a senior adviser involved in a stock fraud scheme with mafia ties, according to a Friday report from The Associated Press.

Felix Sater reportedly conducted business with the real estate tycoon after his links with organized crime emerged publicly in 2007. Trump lawyer Alan Garten told the AP that Sater prospected high-end real estate deals for The Trump Organization. The partnership lasted just six months, he added.


“The guy’s been in business a long time — he has a lot of contacts,” Garten said of Sater, an executive for Bayrock Group, LLC during his work with The Trump Organization.

Sater pleaded guilty in 1998 to one count of racketeering for his role in a $40 million stock fraud scheme involving the Genovese and Bonanno mafia families, AP reports. Insiders allegedly manipulated the price of obscure stocks before selling them at inflated prices to unaware investors.

Sater also received more than a year in prison in 1993 for stabbing a man’s face with a broken margarita glass.

Garten said Friday that Sater never had any formal contract or employment agreement with The Trump Organization. He also never finalized any deals for the company, the lawyer added.

He also noted that Sater aided the government against his stock fraud defendants, at one point even earning the praise of now-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“If Mr. Sater was good enough for the government to work with, I see no reason why he wasn’t good enough for Mr. Trump,” Garten said, adding that Trump did not know Sater’s backstory when he worked alongside The Trump Organization in 2010.

AP said that Sater became a government informant against the mafia for more than a decade after his conviction in 1998. Federal prosecutors then kept details of his racketeering case out of the public eye for 14 years.

Sater also altered his name from its original “Satter,” before entering the same high-end real estate market Trump occupies. Bayrock, which employed Sater, partnered with Trump on the Trump SoHo high-rise hotel in Manhattan.

Sater refused to comment on his past association with Trump.

“Obviously a Donald-and-the-bad-guy piece is not interesting for me to participate in,” he wrote in an email.

Trump, for his part, argued he did not have personal intimacy with the stock fraud felon and former mafia informant.

“Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” he said, referring questions about Sater to his aides. "I’m not that familiar with him.”

Garten added that Sater’s personal history is one the businessman has tried leaving behind.

“He was trying to restart his life,” he said of Sater. "I believe he was regretful of things that happened in the past.”