New details emerged on Thursday night regarding a story that broke earlier this week, and that the Justice Department was looking into, about a potential bribery scheme in which a presidential pardon was sought.
The revelation, which was made in court documents that were unsealed on Tuesday in federal court, originally did not disclose “a timeline of the alleged scheme, or any names of people potentially involved, except that communications between people including at least one lawyer were seized from an office that was raided sometime before the end of this summer,” CNN reported. “No one appears to have been publicly charged with a related crime to date.”
The New York Times reported on Thursday night that the matter involved a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump and an attorney connected to the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Sources said “it concerned efforts by the lawyer for Mr. Kushner, Abbe Lowell, and the fund-raiser, Elliott Broidy, who pleaded guilty in October to a charge related to a different scheme to lobby the Trump administration,” the Times reported. “A billionaire San Francisco real estate developer, Sanford Diller, enlisted their help in securing clemency for a Berkeley psychologist, Hugh L. Baras, who had received a 30-month prison sentence on a conviction of tax evasion and improperly claiming Social Security benefits, according to the filing and the people familiar with the case.”
“Under the suspected scheme, Mr. Diller would make ‘a substantial political contribution’ to an unspecified recipient in exchange for the pardon,” the report added. “He died in February 2018, and there is no evidence that the effort continued after his death.”
No bribe was ever paid. No one has been charged in the DOJ’s inquiry into the matter. No government officials are currently the subject of a target of the inquiry.
CNN separately reported that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is one individual that some Trump associates are pushing Trump to pardon:
President Donald Trump’s associates are making appeals to him in the hopes of obtaining pardons before he leaves office, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday.
The source said the list of associates broaching the subject of preemptive pardons that would seek to shield those individuals from prosecution includes Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading the President’s long-shot legal battles to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in his role as Trump’s personal attorney. …
Giuliani denied discussing a preemptive pardon with the President, telling CNN that The “(New York) Times is completely wrong.” He further denied that he has talked to anyone at the White House about a pardon for himself.
It’s not clear what potential criminal exposure Giuliani or other associates are attempting to preempt. But the first source familiar with the discussions went on to cite what friends and allies of the President see as hostility from the incoming Biden administration toward Trump associates.
This report has been updated to include additional information.
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