President Donald Trump announced another round of pardons on Wednesday night, rewarding loyalists like Jared Kushner’s father, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime crony Roger Stone.
The Kushner family was greatly embarrassed by the prosecution of Charles Kushner, who plead guilty to multiple crimes in 2004 and served two years in prison in part for setting up his brother-in-law with a prostitute, videotaping it, and then trying to blackmail him over it.
Jared Kushner traveled with President Trump on Wednesday when the president and first lady Melania Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago for the Christmas holiday.
The pardons of Manafort and Stone reward two of the most high-profile and widely condemned former advisers to Trump, both of whom were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, went to trial and were convicted by juries of multiple crimes.
Trump long praised Manafort and Stone for their loyalty – both men refused to cooperate with prosecutors.
The 29 pardons the White House announced Wednesday night followed a round of 20 pardons on Tuesday, where Trump cleared two former aides convicted as part of Mueller’s probe, three former Republican members of Congress, and four Blackwater guards contracted by the government who were convicted in connection with the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad.
Josh Kushner, Charles Kushner and Jared Kushner attend a party in New York in 2014
President Donald Trump announced another round of pardons, giving them to longtime loyalists
Jared Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser in Trump’s White House, joined the president and first lady on their flight to Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday
Charles Kushner was prosecuted by Chris Christie, a Trump ally and confident who recently said it was time for the president to give up his legal challenges to November’s election.
Last year Christie described Kushner’s crime as ‘loathsome’ and ‘disgusting.’
‘I mean it’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted when I was US attorney. And I was a US attorney in New Jersey … so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there,’ he told PBS.
Charles Kushner plead guilty to 16 counts of tax evasion, one count of retaliating against a federal witness, and another count of lying to the Federal Election Commission.
Charles Kushner’s retaliation conviction had to do with a revenge plot against his brother-in-law William Schulder, a former employee turned witness for federal prosecutors.
Charles Kushner hired a prostitute to lure Schulder into having sex in a Bridgewater, New Jersey, motel room as a hidden camera taped the encounter. That tape was then sent to Schulder’s wife, who was Charles’ sister Esther.
The Schulders, in turn, brought the tape to prosecutors, who tracked down the prostitute and threatened her with arrest. She turned on Kushner and revealed the plot.
Christie prosecuted Charles Kushner in 2004 when he was U.S. attorney for New Jersey and claims that was the reason the younger Kushner got him fired from heading Donald Trump’s transition team after the 2016 election.
Christie negotiated a plea deal with Charles Kushner.
The tawdry case not only put the elder Kushner in jail for two years, it caused great embarrassment to the Kushner family.
Paul Manafort was on home release from his prison sentence due to the coronavirus pandemic; he is seen above at his daughter’s home
Roger Stone was at Turning Point USA’s gala at Mar-a-Lago this weekend
Manafort and Stone are two of the latest Trump allies who were brought down by Mueller’s investigation to be pardoned by the president.
And it’s the latest move by the president to undo what Mueller’s investigation has brought. Trump has long claimed he is the victim of a ‘witch hunt.’
He has now pardoned four people convicted in the Mueller probe, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Mueller’s investigation revealed Manafort’s business dealings with foreign officials as unregistered lobbyist.
Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank fraud and tax fraud and then made a deal with prosecutors to avoid a second trial.
He is on home confinement due to the coronavirus after being sentenced to seven and a half years.
Stone was convicted on seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House inquiry into possible Trump campaign coordination with Russia.
Trump commuted Stone’s 40 month sentence back in July but this fully absolves Stone of any record.
Stone, who lives in Florida, was at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend for a gala held by Turning Point USA, an organization of young conservatives who adore Trump.
Also announced in Wednesday’s round of pardons was absolution for Margaret Hunter, the wife of former Congressman Duncan Hunter, who Trump pardoned in Tuesday’s round.
The couple had plead guilty to charges of misusing campaign funds for personal expenses, which included everything from school supplies for their children, to food and booze, to a plane ticket for the family bunny to fly from California to Washington D.C.
Another one of Trump’s pardons has a Kim Kardashian link.
Topeka Sam, who served three years of a 130-month cocaine-related sentence, was the woman who inspired Kardashian to push for criminal justice reform and seek to meet Trump at the White House to ask for clemency for Alice Johnson.
Johnson has since received a full pardon from Trump. Johnson supported Sam’s pardon, the White House said. Sam founded the Ladies of Hope Ministries, where she mentors formerly incarcerated women.
The list also included figures of less national renown, including Mary McCarty, once a prominent figure in Palm Beach and south Florida circles.
She went to federal prison after both she and her now deceased husband were convicted on corruption charges.
The statement said she had the backing of former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi – who defended Trump during impeachment, and Trump confidant Chris Ruddy, a Mar-a-Lago member.
McCarty was a Palm Beach County Commissioner, and as such voted on key issues affecting Mar-a-Lago. In 1996 she voted to approve a $75 million settlement between the Trump-owned club and the county over airport noise restrictions. As part of the settlement, Trump was able to lease land for a golf course.
She and her husband, former water district chairman Kevin McCarty, both served time in prison after a corruption sweep.
She formerly chaired the Palm Beach GOP. McCarty pleaded guilty to honest services fraud and was sentenced in 2009, spending two years at a federal work camp in Texas following charges she voted on projects that steered business that financially benefited her husband, who helped run a Raymond James office that did municipal lending. Prosecutors said she voted on bonds where he got a commission. Mr. McCarty was accused of concealing his wife’s crimes, and the Florida power couple was ordered to pay back $272,000.
Trump also pardoned Republican political aides Jesse Benton and John Tate, who in 2012 worked for Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Benton and Tate concealed more than $70,000 given to Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson so that he would change his endorsement from Rep. Michele Bachmann to Paul during the Republican presidential primary.
Sen. Rand Paul, who Benton also worked for, supported the pardon, the White House said. Benton also worked for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2014 re-election campaign.