January 3, 2017

Jim Sciutto brought us an interesting tidbit on Jake Tapper's show just now about one of Trump's paying guests at his New Year's Eve party at Mar-a-Lago.

According to CNN reporter Miguel Marques, a Joseph "Joey No Socks" Cinque is a convicted felon with longstanding ties to the Trump organization.

Cinque was the man standing next to Trump on stage during his speech where his guests cheered the end of the Affordable Care Act.

Cinque was convicted in 1989 of art theft, but his attorney says he legally owned the art. More interestingly, Cinque isn't just an art thief. He's also a known associate of John Gotti, Gambino crime family boss.

When asked by the AP about his attendance, Trump insisted he didn't know him well and wasn't aware of his conviction, despite the fact that their association is publicly documented and has been for years. As noted in the report, Cinque's organization -- American Academy of Hospitality Sciences -- gave Trump's hotels an award.

So Cinque is standing on the stage during Trump's address, but they don't know each other. Sure thing.

David Cay Johnston was appropriately skeptical.

"Wow, Donald Trump is so unaware and doesn't have people around him to warn him that you are standing next to a convicted felon who credibly claimed to have a relationship with John Gotti? That's astonishing!"

Meanwhile, the U.S. Secret Service can't seem to figure out how it is that a convicted felon landed right next to the President-elect either, or at least, they're not commenting publicly on it. Perhaps they trusted Trump's private security force for the guest list.

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