REVEALED: Jared Kushner's lawyer and top RNC fundraiser were targets of DOJ investigation into pay-for-presidential pardon scheme for convicted tax evader Hugh Baras

 A top RNC fundraiser and Jared Kushner's lawyer were reportedly targets of a DOJ investigation that involved a pay-for-pardon scheme for convicted tax evader Hugh Baras.

The Justice Department is investigating whether there was a secret scheme to lobby White House officials for a pardon as well as a related plot to offer a hefty political contribution in exchange for clemency, according to a court document unsealed Tuesday.

The document reveals that certain individuals are suspected of having acted to secretly lobby White House officials to secure a pardon or sentence commutation and that, in a related scheme, a substantial political contribution was floated in exchange for a pardon or 'reprieve of sentence'. 


Most of the information in the 18-page court order is redacted, including the identity of the people whom prosecutors are investigating and whom the proposed pardon might be intended for. 

But sources familiar with the inquiry, told the New York Times that the document concerned efforts by Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, and one of President Donald Trump's top fundraisers, Elliott Broidy, who in October pleaded guilty to a charge related to a different scheme, to lobby the Trump administration.

Broidy resigned from his position at the RNC after it was revealed that he agreed to pay $1.6million to a former Playboy model who became pregnant during an affair. 

Jared Kushner
Donald Trump

Sources familiar with the inquiry, told the New York Times that the document concerned efforts by Jared Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, and top Donald Trump fundraiser, Elliott Broidy, to lobby the Trump administration

Real estate developer Sanford Diller (pictured) is alleged to have promised 'substantial' political donation to an unspecified recipient in exchange for a pardon for convicted tax evader, Hugh Baras

Real estate developer Sanford Diller (pictured) is alleged to have promised 'substantial' political donation to an unspecified recipient in exchange for a pardon for convicted tax evader, Hugh Baras

The sources claim that San Francisco real estate developer, Sanford Diller, asked Broidy and Lowell for help with getting clemency for Hugh L. Baras, a Berkeley psychologist who received a 30-month prison sentence for tax evasion.

According to the Times, Diller would make 'a substantial political contribution' to an unspecified recipient in exchange for the pardon.

But Diller died in 2018 and there's no evidence that those efforts continued after his death. 

Baras, who jailed for more than two years, did not received clemency from the White House. He was released from prison in August 2019, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

But according to the court documents, someone did approach the White House Counsel's Office to make sure the clemency petition had reached the targeted officials. 

It's unclear who made contact with the White House Counsel's Office. 

In a statement, Broidy's lawyer, William Burck, said his client was 'not under investigation and has not been accused by anyone of any wrongdoing whatsoever'.

Reuters could not immediately reach representatives of Lowell and the Justice Department to seek comment.

But Lowell's lawyer, Reid Weingarten, did tell the Times that no bribe was paid. Weingarten also confirmed that his client had represented Baras in his efforts to avoid incarceration. 

No one has been charged in the inquiry. 


A Justice Department official said Tuesday night that no government official was or is a subject or target of the investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Trump tweeted Tuesday night: 'Pardon investigation is Fake News!'

The existence of the investigation, first reported by CNN, was revealed in a court order from US District Judge Beryl Howell, the chief judge of Washington's federal court. She described the order as a 'bribery-for-pardon' investigation.

In it, she granted investigators access to certain email communications connected to the alleged schemes that she said was not protected by attorney-client privilege. 

The investigative team will be able to use that material to confront any subject or target of the investigation, the judge wrote.

Prosecutors sought to keep the order private because they said it identifies people not charged by a grand jury.

The sources claim that Diller, asked Broidy and Lowell (pictured in 2014 with Kushner) for help with getting clemency for Baras before Diller passed away in 2018

The sources claim that Diller, asked Broidy and Lowell (pictured in 2014 with Kushner) for help with getting clemency for Baras before Diller passed away in 2018

The sources claim that Diller asked Elliott Broidy (right) and Lowell for help with getting clemency for Baras, a Berkeley psychologist who received a 30-month prison sentence for tax evasion

The sources claim that Diller asked Elliott Broidy (right) and Lowell for help with getting clemency for Baras, a Berkeley psychologist who received a 30-month prison sentence for tax evasion

But on Tuesday, Howell unsealed select portions of that document while redacting from view any personally identifiable information.

As part of the investigation, more than 50 devices, including laptops and iPads, have been seized, according to the document.

In those devices, investigators discovered emails 'indicating additional criminal activity' among the people involved in the pardon issue.

An investigation was launched into Broidy in 2018 after he resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. His resignation came after it was revealed that he agreed to pay $1.6million to a former Playboy model.

Broidy pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act as part of a covert campaign to influence the Trump administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests, according to the Times. 

Pardons are common at the end of a president's tenure and are occasionally politically fraught affairs as some convicted felons look to leverage connections inside the White House to secure clemency. 

Last week, Trump announced that he had pardoned his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, even as a federal judge was weighing a Justice Department request to dismiss the case.

It was reported earlier this week that Trump has been in talks with his advisers about pardons for his children Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr, as well as Kushner and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. 

According to ABC News and then the New York Times, the president is worried that a Biden administration may seek retribution against him by targeting the oldest of his five children. 

However, presidential pardons do not provide protection against state or local crimes. 

The president reportedly asked aides if he has the right to pardon himself and family members and has even asked if he could issue pardons pre-emptively for things people could be charged with in the future.

Don Jr had been under investigation for contacts that he had with Russians offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. 

He was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller but he was never charged.

According to the Times, Kushner provided false information to federal authorities about his contacts with foreigners for his security clearance. Despite that, he was given a security clearance anyway. 

It's unclear why Trump is concerned about potential criminal exposure of Eric or Ivanka.

But, the Times reported that a probe by the Manhattan district attorney into the Trump Organization is now including tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees, some of which appear to have gone to Ivanka.

REVEALED: Jared Kushner's lawyer and top RNC fundraiser were targets of DOJ investigation into pay-for-presidential pardon scheme for convicted tax evader Hugh Baras REVEALED: Jared Kushner's lawyer and top RNC fundraiser were targets of DOJ investigation into pay-for-presidential pardon scheme for convicted tax evader Hugh Baras Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:43 Rating: 5

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