The lawyer who questioned Donald Trump under oath in a civil deposition says it is now clear Trump lied about his relationship with Felix Sater, a convicted felon once connected to the Russian mafia.
“If somebody tells a flat untruth under oath then that’s the very definition of perjury,” Jared Beck said in an interview on the Law&Crime Network program Brian Ross Investigates.
In his testimony, Trump said he barely knew Sater and stated, “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.”
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified last week before Congress that at the time of the deposition, in 2013, Trump did know Sater, who Cohen said had an office in the Trump organization on the same floor as Trump, the 26th floor.
ABC News reported that the Trump Organization had even printed business cards for Sater, identifying him as a “senior adviser” to Donald Trump.
More evidence of Sater’s connections to Trump could emerge next week when Sater is scheduled to testify before Congress in an open session. A series of emails have established that Sater was deeply involved with Cohen in trying to help Trump negotiate a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow even as Trump was campaigning for President and denying he had any business deals with Russians.
Trump was being questioned in the 2013 deposition about Sater because of questions being raised about who was financing a Trump condo development in Florida.
“Sater had been convicted in a money pump and dump stock scheme that was connected to the Mafia,” said attorney Beck. “I just think Trump did not want anything on the record of associating himself or is organization specifically with someone who had such a known shady past and a connection to the criminal underworld.”
Beck said that if Trump or anyone in his organization sought to hide Sater’s involvement in connection with a bank loan, “I could see that rising to the level of a fraud claim.”
Requests for comment from Sater to his lawyer were not answered.
Ariel Tu and Jake Kaplan contributed to this report.
[Image via Law&Crime Network screengrab]