Attorney for Jared Kushner and a Trump fundraiser investigated by DOJ in alleged bribery-for-pardon scheme

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A billionaire real estate developer enlisted an attorney for Jared Kushner and a fundraiser for President Donald Trump in a suspected scheme to obtain a presidential pardon via bribery, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Earlier this week, a federal judge released documents showing that the Department of Justice was investigating a “bribery conspiracy scheme” this past summer. The names of the suspects were redacted and no one has been charged with a crime.

The status of the investigation is unknown.

In a statement on Wednesday, a DOJ official told Business Insider that “No government official was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing.”

According to The Times, the investigation began after a billionaire, Sanford Diller, enlisted the help of Abbe Lowell, an attorney for the president’s son-in-law, and Elliott Broidy, a Trump campaign fundraiser. Diller was seeking clemency for a man, Hugh Baras, who had been convicted of tax evasion and Social Security fraud, the paper reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that documents they reviewed showed Diller donated $333,800 to the Republican Party in 2016 and that the pardon for Baras was the one favor he asked for in exchange for the donations. The Times said there was no evidence that Diller donated directly to Trump.

Diller died in February 2018, “and there is no evidence that the effort continued after his death,” The Times said.

Court documents suggested the effort, which included an appeal to the White House Counsel’s Office, included an offer of a “substantial political contribution” in exchange for a pardon.

An attorney for Lowell, however, told The Times that no bribe was ever paid. Baras has not received clemency, the Times noted. An attorney for Baras told The Times that he was not representing him “for the purposes of a pardon.” 

In 2017, Lowell made headlines after falling for a prankster imitating his client, Jared Kushner. In an email exchange, Lowell offered the faux-Kushner advice on how to abide by laws governing official correspondence in his role as a White House advisor.

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