Einhorn asked about another gifting tables participant, Cheryl Maturo, the office manager at New Haven's Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Chimes and Richardson. "People knew that Cheryl worked for a law firm," Bershtein acknowledged.
Next to the stand came Shelley Marcus and her father, Ed Marcus, a former state Democratic Party chairman and also an attorney. Shelley Marcus said she was hired by participants to give advice about a pending investigation by then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Morabito introduced the 34-page manual for the gifting tables as an exhibit, and questioned Shelley Marcus about it. The photocopied 2008 manual proclaims the program is safe and legal, and relied on an Internal Revenue Service income tax exemption for gifts.
Shelley Marcus testified that she had doubts about the legality from the beginning. "It looked like a pyramid scheme," she told the court. How did her clients respond? "No, no, no, no, we've been told by many lawyers and accountants that it's perfectly legal."
Ed Marcus recalled that when Platt came to the firm for advice in 2009, she had been participating in the gifting tables programs for three years. "She wasn't just a little bit pregnant. She'd had triplets," Marcus said. (David Doyle, a lawyer in the Marcus firm, said that everything Platt and Bello are being charged with had already transpired when they came seeking advice in late 2009).
Both Shelley Marcus and her father said they were unable to get names of the lawyers who advised Platt and Bello that the gifting tables program was legal.
At Bello's suggestion, Shelley Marcus said she spoke with Elena Cahill, a former Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn lawyer, yoga teacher and business school instructor at the University of Bridgeport. Cahill suggested a low-level solution inviting Blumenthal to have a meeting to see if the investigation could be negotiated to a successful conclusion.
Both Shelley Marcus and later her father said they considered this a bad approach. "I thought it was inappropriate," testified Edward Marcus. He suggested instead that his clients "let it play out in its normal course."
The Marcus firm lawyers were preparing to fight the matter on a slightly higher level as a civil enforcement issue.