Among the Democrats who were expected to attend that event? Hillary Clinton, then a New York senator.
Democratic luminaries named on the invitation to the event — a copy of which was obtained by CNBC — included Sen. Charles Schumer and current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Also listed on the invitation were political figures who later faced ethical troubles: Sen. Jon Corzine, who led financial firm MF Global into bankruptcy and was forced to admit in a congressional hearing that he did not know where more than a billion dollars of the firm's money went; and Sen. John Edwards, who was indicted on felony campaign finance charges after his own presidential campaign.
The fundraiser to benefit "Friends of Susan Parker" was held on Friday, October 4, 2002 — and due to the contentious debate then roiling the Senate over the Iraq War resolution, many of the DC-based politicians listed on the invitation did not attend. But one person who was in the room at the time recalls that Melania Trump — who was not yet married to Donald — approached event organizers to hand over Trump's check. "No one knew who Melania was at that time," the person recalls. "She came in and she was so beautiful, everyone was in shock. You don't see many like her in Alabama."
Spokespeople for Trump and Sessions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump has said he was long an avid contributor to political campaigns. Over several years, he even wrote campaign checks to Clinton, who he will likely face in November.