The bribery-for-presidential pardon scheme, which was exposed earlier this week by heavily redacted documents unsealed by a federal judge, reportedly involves a lawyer for Jared Kushner and powerful GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy.

According to a New York Times report, billionaire real estate developer Sanford Diller sought help from the lawyer, Abbe Lowell, and Broidy in granting clemency to psychologist Hugh Baras, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison for tax evasion and falsely claiming Social Security disability insurance benefits.

Baras was sentenced in 2014 and ordered to pay about $594,000 in restitution. He served his prison term from June 2017 until August 2019 and did not receive a pardon or commutation.

The alleged bribery scheme involved Diller making a large contribution to an unspecified political campaign. Diller passed away in February 2018 and it appears the plan ended then.

However, during the time the effort was underway, someone spoke to the White House Counsel’s Office, though the court filings do not indicate how the White House responded nor the extent of their knowledge of the scheme.

President Donald Trump called the reports on the unsuccessful deal “fake news” on Twitter. There is nothing linking him, or anyone by name at the White House, to the scheme.

No one has been charged in relation to the plan.

Broidy’s lawyer, William Burck, told the Times his client did nothing wrong.

“Mr. Broidy was asked by Mr. Diller to refer him to a D.C. lawyer who could assist on a clemency petition,” Burck said. “Mr. Broidy sent him to Abbe Lowell. That’s not lobbying, and Mr. Broidy is not under investigation and has not been accused by anyone of any wrongdoing whatsoever.”

Broidy pleaded guilty in October in an unrelated charge of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Read more about:

Leave a comment