Donald Trump defends cocaine trafficker in letter to judge

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Sometime before his November sentencing (date unknown), Donald Trump writes a character reference for Joseph Weichselbaum, the mafia associate, indicted drug trafficker, and convicted embezzler who lives in Trump’s own apartment.

Donald Trump vouched for Weichselbaum before his sentencing, writing that the drug trafficker is “a credit to the community” who was “conscientious, forthright, and diligent.” And while Weichselbaum’s confederates got as many as 20 years, Weichselbaum himself got only three, serving 18 months before he was released from the urban prison that the Bureau of Prisons maintains in New York City. In seeking early release, Weichselbaum said Trump had a job waiting for him.


The case was mysteriously transferred to Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, in 1986. She had it reassigned to another judge.


In October 1985, the Justice Department indicted Weichselbaum and his associates on 18 counts related to cocaine and marijuana trafficking in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, and other states. Less than three months later, Donald Trump rented out his own apartment to Weichselbaum.

It’s unclear when Trump and Weichselbaum’s paths first crossed, but legal documents claim their business relationship began in 1984, five years after the trafficker was convicted for grand theft auto and embezzlement.

Weichselbaum was hired to maintain Trump’s private helicopter a black Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma named Ivana and manage a helicopter service Damin Aviation owned by him and his brother Franklin. They were getting paid more than $2 million a year for ferrying high rollers to and from Trump’s casinos. 


It’s possible that Weichselbaum was the cocaine supplier for Trump’s casinos. Read more about Trump’s relationship to Joseph Weichselbaum here.

External Sources

The Smoking Gun (Archived)

Spooky Connections (Archived)

Slate (Archived)

The Daily Beast (Archived)

Politico (Archived)

Original Photo: Andrew Dunstan

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