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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

As ex-fed, LI’s Todd Kaminsky has walk-on in Trump probe drama

New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, left, after

New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, left, after listening to testimony by Amtrak officials during a New York State Assembly Committee on Corporations on May 11, 2017. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Because of his previous job as a federal prosecutor, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky crops up these days in a smattering of news reports on President Donald Trump’s campaign and its Russian contacts.

Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) has declined all comment on the matter, which involves another Long Islander, Felix Sater — a Russian-American businessman whose ties to Trump in the private sector and role in real estate development attract interest.

There has been a morass of litigation over how much the federal government must disclose about terms of past dealings between its officials and Sater, a longtime Port Washington resident once accused of involvement in a stock-fraud scheme.

One unsealed transcript of a hearing in New York in 2011 has since been widely quoted. In it, Kaminsky — then an assistant U.S. attorney — told a court that Sater’s cooperation “was of an extraordinary depth and breadth, almost unseen, at least in this United States attorney’s office.”

Kaminsky was then working for U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, who later became attorney general under President Barack Obama.

Kaminsky said at that hearing that “unlike some cooperators who cooperate within one type of organized crime family or over one type of crime, Mr. Doe’s cooperation runs a gamut that is seldom seen.”

“It involves violent organizations such as al-Qaida, it involves foreign governments, it involves Russian organized crime. And, most particularly, it involves various families of La Cosa Nostra.”

“By that, specifically, I mean an individual on the ruling board of the Genovese crime family, a captain in the Bonanno crime family, a soldier in the Gambino crime family, the list goes on and on.”

None of the issues or details raised in criminal cases are known to have involved Trump or his business ventures.

The first and most extensive coverage on Kaminsky’s involvement in the Sater case has come from veteran legal reporter and blogger Daniel Wise. (For further detail on the case, see links to his in-depth postings here and here).

The court matter drew further mention last week when a series of emails from 2015 from Sater to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen surfaced in published reports regarding plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow that has not been built.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote, according to The New York Times. “I will get all of Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process. . . . I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Mr. Sater wrote.

Whether all that was plausible or just empty chatter will be up to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team.

Kaminsky departed the U.S. attorney’s office in 2014 and was elected to the State Assembly. He became a State senator in 2016, succeeding former Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who had been convicted and expelled from public office.

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