Remember Trump’s infamous “world’s greatest memory” comments back when he insisted that he saw thousands of Muslims cheering as the World Trade Center come down on 9/11, which has since been debunked? That memory seems to have failed him when he was questioned about a cocaine dealer awaiting sentencing who had received help while imprisoned from Donald Trump. That, he can’t remember.
Smoking Gun uncovered documents containing original transcripts of Trump’s questioning by the Division of Gaming Enforcement in September 1990. The DGE questioned him about a letter of leniency submitted to a judge on behalf of one of Donald Trump’s employees, Joseph Weichselbaum. That letter was signed by Donald Trump.
Joseph Weichselbaum “ferried high rollers to Trump’s Atlantic City casinos” and trafficked cocaine on the side. He was convicted of embezzlement and grand theft auto before being charged with trafficking in 1985, when the letter asking a federal judge for leniency, signed by Donald Trump, was submitted to a judge. Slate reports that:
“Spy says Weichselbaum was the general manager of the Trump-connected helicopter company from 1983 until 1986 and that his brother Frank Weichselbaum was one of the men who owned it.”
While living in theTrump Plaza building in Manhattan, which Weischelbaum rented directly from Trump and paid for by “bartering” work from his helicopter company to Trump’s casinos, he applied to have his federal case moved to a new venue. His case was moved from Ohio to Newark, New Jersey, and he was given a new judge there. That judge was Maryanne Trump Barry, Donald Trump’s sister. Barry handed the case off to another judge, and Trump’s letter for leniency was submitted to him.
Trump described Weischelbaum as “conscientious, forthright, and diligent” and called him a “credit to the community” in that letter. When the Division of Gaming Enforcement came to ask questions about the letter, however, Trump insisted that he couldn’t recall writing any letter. At the time of the questioning, the investigators did not have the document with them to show Trump. Later, when the document was presented to him, Trump acknowledged that it was his signature on the letter, but said he couldn’t remember writing it or who had asked him to write it.
Despite being convicted of two felonies related to his trafficking of cocaine and marijuana, Weichselbaum received only a three-year sentence and was released after only eighteen months in 1988. Trump continued to pay Weichselbaum’s company for its services until 1990, well after Weischelbaum was released and moved into an apartment his girlfriend had bought in another Trump property. The company went bankrupt and changed its name twice during that time. According to Smoking Gun:
“Now 74 and living in Los Angeles, (Joseph Weichselbaum) distributed kilos of cocaine that had been smuggled into Florida by a pair of Colombian brothers. Weichselbaum, who faced a maximum of 18 years in prison, was sentenced to only three years in custody.”
Trump was questioned about his ties with Weischelbaum again in 1992 after the book “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall” was written by Wayne Barrett. The book noted that the letter Trump wrote for Weichselbaum happened ot be “the only time the Republican presidential candidate has written a pre-sentencing letter vouching for a convicted criminal,” which prompted even more questions.
It is anyone’s guess how exactly this will affect Trump’s bid for the presidency considering that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” without losing votes. However, the story definitely raises some interesting questions that could arise for the GOP frontrunner in the future.