Trump picked stock fraud felon as senior adviser

In this Dec. 2, 2015, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Prince William County Fair Ground in Manassas, Va. Trump tapped a man to be a senior business adviser to his real-estate empire even after the man’s past involvement in a major mafia-linked stock fraud scheme became public. Felix Sater pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering in 1998. His conviction remained secret for nearly a decade as he worked as a government informant and an executive at the Bayrock Group, a real estate firm that partnered with Trump. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump knew a man he named as a senior business adviser in 2010 had been convicted in a major Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme, according to Associated Press interviews and a review of court records.

Trump had worked with Felix Sater previously during the man’s stint as an executive at Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate development firm that partnered with Trump on numerous projects after renting office space from the Trump Organization. But Sater’s past was not widely known at the time because he was working as a government cooperator on mob cases and the judge overseeing Sater’s own case kept the proceedings secret. After Sater’s criminal history and past ties to organized crime came to light in 2007, Trump distanced himself from Sater.

Less than three years later, however, Trump tapped Sater for a business development role that came with the title of senior adviser to Donald Trump. Sater received Trump Organization business cards and was given an office within the Trump Organization’s headquarters, on the same floor as Trump’s own.

Trump said during an AP interview on Wednesday that he recalled only bare details of Sater.

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

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