2/ First of all, @felixsater, of you see anything off here, feel free to correct. This is all from open source documents, I do not have super secret sources handing me info below the table. Most of all, want to represent facts accurately and label speculation as such. Thanks
3/ But a full thread treatment is very much needed for Sater. He is intertwined at the very root of this scandal. He has/had personal contact with many main players on all sides of the story and remains mysterious
4/ It's easy to jump to the end question of "what team was this guy on?" I want to know too. But the truth is likely very complicated. This gets into the world of espionage where nothing is quite as it seems. So this is a gathering of available information plus some speculation
5/ The best source for Sater’s pre-spygate background is in an article from Bill Powell of Newsweek who is apparently not on twitter. I'm going borrow from it here
6/ Sater was born in Russia but his parents emigrated when he was a child. They were a Jewish family and lived in Israel for a year before ending up in Brooklyn.
Their neighborhood was a landing place for other Russian immigrants as well
7/ Sater attended Brooklyn public schools, his father was a cab driver, and apparently made friends with none other than Michael Cohen
Cohen is also Jewish and some have said he speaks a little Russian
8/ Out of high school, Sater enrolls in Pace University in Manhattan, but quickly got a part time job on Wall Street and it was a natural fit. He became a full time broker at 19. "I breathed it in like it was air", referring to the Wall Street atmosphere. This was the late 80s
9/ Sater was making really good money, he got married, moved to an Upper East Side apartment.
But it all came crashing down in an instant...from a stupid bar fight
Sater stabbed a guy in the neck with the stem of a wine glass
10/ He ended up getting convicted of assault and spent time in New York's Riker Island Jail.
Because of the assault charges he was sanctioned on Wall Street so he could not act as a broker as for publicly traded companies, the job he had before the ordeal
11/ Hope I'm emphasizing the backdrop enough here.
New York, New York
This is a Gotham tale full of high stakes real estate deals, high rises and taxi medallions
12/ So after Sater gets out of jail, he is sanctioned from being a broker on Wall Street but he violates those sanctions and subsequently becomes involved with ANOTHER fraud with members of the Genovese and Colombo crime families. He gets caught and is obviously in quite a pickle
13/ This is Dec 1998. Andrew Weissmann is a lead prosecutor of the case, which is filed in EDNY. Loretta Lynch was the AUSA for EDNY at the time
14/ He pleads guilty to racketeering and the case is immediately sealed. Why? Because he begins spying for the FBI and the CIA.
He actually traveled to his native Russia and tapped into the underground of the former Soviet Union tracking down black market weapons
15/ Quick note that this is where my accounting of events diverges from the Newsweek article. The Newsweek article is told with Sater's voice and he seems to gloss over some stuff, understandably. My version of events lines up with the great reporting done by @MikeSallah7 in 2012
16/ So from 1998 until 2015, he was a very important informant and asset. Loretta Lynch says so herself.
She said "For more than 10 years, he worked with prosecutors from my Office, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and law enforcement.."
17/ "..agents from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, providing info crucial to national security and the conviction of over 20 individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud and members of La Cosa Nostra agencies" c6.nrostatic.com/sites/default/…
18/ Sater builds a public life as New York businessman in real estate, hospitality, investing, etc. He joins Bayrock Group in 2003 as a senior adviser at the behest of the company's owner Tevfik Arif
and this is where he starts working with the Trump Organization
19/ Bayrock's offices were on the 24th floor of Trump Tower and were clearly pitching Trump and his team on real estate deals, especially licensing deals.
Bayrock collaborated with the Trump Organization on projects all over the world.
20/ Abe Wallach: "It's not very hard to get connected to Donald if you make it known that you have a lot of money and you want to do deals and you want to put his name on it.
Donald doesn't do due diligence. He relies on his gut and whether he thinks you have good genes."
21/ The most successful Bayrock deal seems to be the licensing on Trump SoHo. The building broke ground in 2006 and Sater apparently played a major role throughout the construction process
22/ However there were also many duds. And the most impactful dud was again a licensing deal but this time on a condo complex in Fort Lauderdale.
Construction initially started in 2005 but the developer went belly up and Trump took his name off the unfinished project in 2009
23/ Sater's past caught up with him in an amazing December 2007 New York Times article by Charles Bagli. It talks about his bar fight, his securities fraud, his CIA connection, the work with Trump.
24/ Apparently Trump read that 2007 NYT article and was "surprised."
According to Trump's lawyer later: "He had no idea. It was the first time that both the Trump organization and Bayrock learned of Mr. Sater's background."
25/ Adding: “When you go into business with another company, you're going to vet that company certainly, but you're not going to vet every employee, it’s just not appropriate."
26/ Once that information became publicly known, Trump “cut all ties” with Sater. But, the Trump organization acknowledges that they continued to listen to deals pitched by Sater well after that that article came out
27/ Note that that NYT article phrases Sater's cooperation with the CIA in the past tense. There is no mention of ongoing ties.
Also, it mentions Sater's involvement in financial fraud in 1998 but it has very little detail.
How in the world did NYT uncover this information?
28/ Maybe related, there was a 2007 lawsuit filed in state court against “the Trump/Bayrock Organization” where Sater was accused of threatening one of the Arizona partners in a deal in Phoenix, a guy called Earnest Mennes
29/ Sater was alleged to have told Mennes he would call in a relative to “electrically shock Mr. Mennes' testicles, cut off Mr. Mennes' legs, and leave Mr. Mennes dead in the trunk of his car.”
30/ They settled out of court. Doesn't diminish Sater's reputation for violence obviously
31/ Also in this time period (~2006), Michael Cohen joins the Trump orbit. Did Sater bring him in somehow? It's unclear
32/ But back to the ill fated Fort Lauderdale condo complex; several of the investors and people who tired to buy condos hired a lawyer in 2010 and sued the developer and Bayrock.
This is where things get real interesting.
33/ Somehow the lawyers in the 2010 Fort Lauderdale case got wind of the seedy details in Sater's past.
I guess someone slipped them documents?
Likely they recvd info that went beyond the earlier NYT story in the understanding of Sater's level of involvement in fraud from '98