Todd Chrisley’s former business partner testified they had an intimate relationship.
The affair, and romantic feelings for Chrisley, was behind his willingness to commit fraud, he said.
Chrisley’s attorney said in his opening that Braddock was “obsessed” with his client.
Todd Chrisley’s former business partner testified in his federal fraud trial Tuesday that they paid a blackmailer $38,000 in cash after the anonymous person threatened to expose their intimate relationship.
Mark Braddock, who turned Chrisley and his wife Julie into the FBI, told an Atlanta jury that he had an affair with Chrisley for about a year in the early 2000s. After their intimate relationship ended, they had formed a “brotherhood” and were close friends until 2012, he testified.
At some point when Braddock was working for Chrisley’s foreclosure management company, Chrisley Asset Management, they started receiving anonymous text messages threatening to expose them for fraud, as well as out their secret affair, Braddock testified.
The texts said “pay cash and we’ll shut up,” Braddock testified.
Braddock said he then made four $9,500 withdrawals from the business account. He then met Chrisley in a parking garage and gave him the cash “in a little bag” to pay the blackmailer.
Federal prosecutors have accused Todd and his wife, Julie Chrisley, who star in the USA Network reality series “Chrisley Knows Best,” of evading taxes and operating a conspiracy to defraud banks by making it appear that they were wealthier than they were to live an extravagant lifestyle they couldn’t afford.
When the banks caught on to them, the Chrisleys filed for bankruptcy, walking away from $20 million in debt, and the couple went on to hide money from the IRS, prosecutors say.
Braddock, who told the FBI that he committed bank fraud on behalf of Todd Chrisley, Julie Chrisley, and himself, said that he had feelings for Chrisley even after their extramarital affair ended.
Those feelings – which developed when the two confided in each other during their affair — played a role in why Braddock was willing to commit fraud on Chrisley’s behalf, Braddock testified Tuesday.
Braddock, who was given immunity from prosecution, has admitted to creating fake documents and submitting them to banks for financial gain. He also admitted to sending emails and making phone calls impersonating Todd Chrisley, with his knowledge.
Braddock and Todd Chrisley had a falling out in 2012, and haven’t spoken since Chrisley locked him out of the office and threatened to have him arrested.
After the falling out, Braddock became vengeful, he admitted in court.
Braddock went on to make fake email addresses under fake names, which he used to send incriminating information about the Chrisleys to the government and news organizations, he admitted on cross-examination.
Chrisley’s attorney, Bruce Morris, alleged in his opening statement that Braddock was “obsessed” with Todd Chrisley and wanted to be him.
Morris implied in his cross-examination of Braddock that he believed he was Todd Chrisley.
Braddock, though, denied that was the case and said the two were in an intimate relationship.
Neither Chrisley’s family, nor the jury, had a palpable reaction to the testimony.
Todd Chrisley publicly addressed rumors about his sexuality in the past, saying they didn’t bother him.
In order to be offended by those accusations, he said in a 2017 interview, “it would mean that I don’t agree with someone being gay.”
“I’m flattered that people think I can get laid on both ends. So, that doesn’t bother me,” Chrisley said in the interview. “And my wife certainly is flattered that as many men want her husband as there are women.”
Braddock, though, testified Tuesday that he didn’t want to be speaking about his affair publically and that his relationship with Todd Chrisley was the first time he had been with a man.
He had to address the issue with his wife before he was called to testify, he told the jury Tuesday.
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