Don Tollefson’s Trial Does Not Appear to Be Going Well for Him
The Don Tollefson saga was supposed to be over. The former 6 ABC and Fox 29 sportscaster — known, even now, for calling pretty much everyone he has ever met a “good guy” — pleaded guilty in September to charges he defrauded about 200 sports fans out of almost $350,000 in phony ticket scams.
But then he abruptly withdrew his plea just before sentencing last month, saying that — after much thought — he’d decided to go to trial. And, despite being urged by a judge to get proper counsel, he decided to represent himself.
Tollefson’s trial began this week, and it’s about time to check in and see how it’s going. Opening statements were Tuesday.
In his 20-min opening statement, Don Tollefson referenced Adolf Hitler, MOVE, David Tyree, Riley Cooper and a racist North Philly roommate.
— Brian P. Hickey (@BrianPHickey) January 6, 2015
Oh. As odd at that sounds, it’s not even all that surprising. In a Philadelphia magazine story in June, he talked to our Robert Huber about Riley Cooper and the evils of racism in his lawyer’s office. (David Tyree, if you’re wondering, is the guy who made The Helmet Catch.)
The first witness called by the prosecution was the father of Brad Fox, the Plymouth Township officer shot to death while involved in a foot pursuit in 2012. Tom Fox spoke about a Brad Fox memorial event where Tollefson, acting as the emcee, solicited $500 from attendees for a trip to an Eagles game. “The Brad Fox Foundation got zero,” Tom Fox testified. “There was no hotel, no airfare, no tickets for anyone.”
After Fox stepped down, others testified they paid Tollefson the $500 but never got a trip. “You said, ‘Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.’ And I trusted you,” Dan Kenney said on the stand. “Then it all fell apart.”
Tollefson’s defense is that he’s simply a bad businessman who promised more than he could deliver. But on Wednesday, the prosecution detailed what, exactly, Tollefson was allegedly spending charity money on.
According to his bank records, Tollefson swiped the debit card of his Winning Ways charity at liquor outlets across the Delaware Valley and withdrew more than $15,900 from ATMs during one short time period in 2012. […] Then there are the debit-card purchases, again and again spent at liquor stores, pet supply and grooming stores and storage spaces throughout the region.
So, yeah, to sum it up: Don Tollefson is in trouble. He has a bit of time before learning his fate, though: The trial is expected to last about three weeks.
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