Don Tollefson: I'm a Bad Businessman But Not a Crook

Don Tollefson insists he's not a crook, he's just bad with numbers.

"I made terrible business decisions because I've always been a bad business person," he said. "But this was and I do believe still is a civil issue."

The disgraced former Philadelphia sportscaster defended himself during his trial Monday. Tollefson's trial on accusations that he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in a charity scheme began last week following his last-minute rejection of a plea deal offered by the Bucks County Prosecutor's Office.

The 62-year-old used his fame to bilk sports fans out of more than $300,000 by selling fake sports-themed trips that he said would help various charities, prosecutors said.

"He's just making a mockery of everything," said Tom Fox, one of Tollefson's accusers and father of slain police officer Brad Fox. "He should have taken the plea deals he was offered three times and stopped wasting taxpayers' money."

The prosecution rested its case on Friday.

In September, Tollefson pleaded guilty to defrauding at least 200 victims through travel packages to sporting events. He withdrew the guilty pleas last month and asked to represent himself at trial with help from a legal adviser. Tollefson disputes prosecution claims that he stole $300,000 and says he's trying to raise money for the people who have legitimate claims. During the trial, Tollefson has constantly been admonished by the judge and objected to by the prosecutor.

"I'm just concerned that the jury get a clear and honest picture but the rules still have to be followed," said Bucks County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Weintraub. "If you choose to represent yourself we hold you to the same standards in the courtroom."

Tollefson has taken the stand himself in between calling his own witnesses.

"I expect Howie Roseman and other Eagles officials to testify," he said. "I just want to ask the Eagles about our relationship past, present and hopefully future." 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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