President Trump’s longtime business associate who tried to set up a Moscow Tower deal during the 2016 election was just revealed to have gotten a sweetheart felony plea deal in a mafia penny stock scam from which he profited mightily while his victims have got the shaft.
One of his victims just compared Sater’s deal to accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s deal, because they both violated the same federal victim’s rights law.
Felix Sater is a convicted felon who has worked for Donald Trump for two decades, and he testified about the Moscow deal to the House Intelligence Committee today.
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Now, one of his later victims who never found out about the penny stock scam – which was run out of the Trump Office building on Wall Street – is speaking out publicly for the first time.
Lawyer Brian Vodicka is a victim of a Sater scam in Texas, who motioned the federal judge that oversaw Sater’s FBI cooperation, plea deal, and illegal sentencing to open up the entire record and recuse himself from the case for participating in “ex parte” hearings.
Those hearings excluded victims from the knowledge of Felix Sater’s plea deal and from being at the sentencing hearing in the interest of letting the longtime Trump associate keep his stolen loot. He wrote in part:
Felix Sater went on to promote real estate projects in New York, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Colorado and helped Trump shop for a Moscow deal starting in the mid-2000s when he took Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Don Jr. there personally.
The Crime Victim’s Rights Act is a federal law that requires restitution, timely notice of court hearings, rights to confer with prosecutors and all manner of protection for the victims of a crime. It is also the very same law that a federal judge recently ruled Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta violated to hand Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart deal for sleeping with hundreds of underage girls.
In Felix Sater’s case, a restitution order of up to $40 million would have been appropriate, but he was let off in 2009 with a slap-on-the-wrist fine of $25,000 paid to the government. In Vodicka’s case, it meant that he never found out that Sater was a convicted felon, before buying into one of his fraudulent investment opportunities in Texas.
Shockingly, the federal judge overseeing Felix Sater’s extraordinarily long plea and cooperation agreement for a decade didn’t even bother to require prosecutors to tell any of his victims that there would be a final sentencing hearing or order him to pay restitution before getting in on the cover-up himself.
Judge Leo I. Glasser is a Reagan appointee, who has been on the bench for 37-years and at age 95 continues to be the sole jurist overseeing the case, US v. Felix Sater. He is also the same judge who unexpectedly sentenced the most famous Italian mafia cooperator in history, Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, to no jail time for over twenty murders when he ratted out the “Teflon Don” John Gotti.
The letter from Brian Vodicka documents exactly when Judge Glasser lied to The Intercept when they held a hearing this April, seeking to completely unseal Sater’s record, about why he didn’t impose restitution.
Voidicka called it the equivalent of judicial “perjury.”
Vodicka was also unequivocal in calling out Judge Glasser for remaining on Sater’s case, even though he recused from hearing more cases about one of his co-conspirators, one who went to jail and got slapped with a $40 million restitution order.
In fact, even Felix Sater’s own lawyers noted that Judge Glasser participated in the cover-up of his crimes by giving orders to him and prosecutors not to reveal his secret plea deal. (See Paragraph 18.)
Part of Judge Glasser’s efforts to keep victims in the dark about the true result of U.S. vs. Felix Sater is that he held a pair of highly unusual “ex parte” hearings (one and two) with prosecutors and Sater’s lawyers.
For the last seven years, Glasser refused to release the results of those hearings, which shows that he and prosecutors conspired to keep the Sater case secret, which he has lied about ever since in order to prosecute two plaintiffs lawyers that pursued a civil racketeering and fraud claim over the spectacularly failed Trump Soho property.
When called and asked if he would recuse or hold a hearing to recuse himself from the Sater case, Judge Glasser’s chambers said, “no comment.”
Last year, a federal judge unsealed some of the records related to Sater’s case, which showed that the government knew of his crimes and that he got to keep all of the money. (Sater’s lawyer personally wrote a threat letter to this author which confirmed everything discovered from the unsealed records, and then refused to comment.)
Soon afterward, published reports in McClatchy DC indicated that Felix Sater became a cooperating witness for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The following month, he told all about the Trump Moscow project to Buzzfeed, and six months later Trump’s personal lawyer – a childhood friend of Sater – pled guilty to Mueller for lying to Congress about that deal, which took place during the entire 2016 Republican primary.
It turned out that not only was Felix Sater an informal advisor to the Trump campaign, but his main role was cajoling the Republican primary candidate to say nice things about Putin in order to help their real estate deal forward, in which their side discussed giving the Russian president a free penthouse condo as a bribe, which would probably be illegal under federal law.
Sater was one of President Trump’s closest business advisors for the two decades before he got into office, and conducted a $400 million dollar Manhattan hotel deal together that collapsed into a massive foreclosure.
One wonders what Felix Sater told the House Intel committee, and what they can trust of what he says. The panel subpoenaed him for no-showing last month, and a spokesman for the panel unusually and openly criticized his lack of cooperation, after an all-day session behind closed doors. He’s even withholding documents that they’ve requested.
This new letter from one of Sater’s victims demonstrates the carnage left behind when federal prosecutors in New York’s Eastern District used court secrecy along with a judge who helped them break the law, to empower one of the world’s most sophisticated con-men with ties to multiple transnational crime organizations, keeping his crimes a secret from the public.