Kushner pardon revives 'loathsome' tale of tax evasion, sex

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called it "one of the most heinous, disgusting crimes" he has ever prosecuted as a US attorney.
After Charles Kushner discovered that his brother-in-law was working with federal agencies, wealthy real estate manager and father of President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared devised a plan for revenge and intimidation.
Kushner hired a prostitute to lure his brother-in-law, then arranged for the encounter in a New Jersey motel room to be taped on a hidden camera and broadcast to his own sister, the husband's wife.
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The scheme did not work. Kushner later pleaded guilty to tax evasion and illegal campaign donations in a tabloid headline case.
On Wednesday, Trump pardoned Kushner as part of a grace stroll in the final days of his presidency that included a number of election officials and allies, including four of the six Trump officials convicted in the Mueller investigation. In the past week, he has graced nearly 50 people.
The White House in its announcement cited Kushner's community service since his 2006 conviction as the reason he deserved mercy.
"These record of reform and charity overshadow Mr. Kushner's conviction and two-year prison sentence for filing false tax returns, witnessing retaliation and giving false testimony," told the Bundestag Electoral Commission, the White House said, adding that Kushner's case of Matt was championed by Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and others.
Not mentioned: Kushner's relationship with Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser who is married to Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka and who, inspired by his father's time in prison, pushed Trump to support criminal justice reform legislation and a integral part of the administration's grace efforts.
Christie didn't respond to a request for comment on Trump's decision to pardon a man he'd sent to prison. But Christie, who led Trump's transition and advised the president informally for years, has made it clear that he believes the Senior Kushner deserves it.
"Mr. Kushner pleaded guilty. He admitted the crimes," Christie told PBS last year when promoting a book blaming the younger Kushner for his firing from Trump's transition team. "And what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor I mean, if a man hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law and videotapes her and then sends the videotape to his sister to try to stop her from testifying in front of a grand jury, I really need more Justification as that? "
He added, “I mean, it's one of the most heinous, disgusting crimes I've prosecuted as a US attorney. And I was a US attorney in New Jersey. "
Kushner eventually pleaded guilty to 18 counts, including tax evasion and witness manipulation. He was sentenced to two years in prison in 2005 - most of what he could get on a pleading, but less than Christie was looking for.
Kushner also agreed to pay the FEC $ 508,900 for contribution violation violations by failing to get OK from partners who have received contributions greater than $ 500,000.
He has since resumed his career in real estate, including purchasing the famous Watchtower Complex along Brooklyn Bridge, the former headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses.
The younger Kushner has spoken openly about how deeply his father's imprisonment has affected his life. He was a law and economics student in his early 20s and mid-2000s when his father was convicted. He suddenly had to run the family business while commuting on weekends to see his father in Alabama.
“When you are on the other side of the system, you feel so helpless,” Kushner said in 2018. “I felt like I was on that side of the system. So how can I try to do all I can? try to be helpful to the people who go through it ”and deserve a second chance.
But Charles Kushner told the New York Times in 2018 that he was not interested in mercy and said he would "prefer not to have a pardon" because it would win the public over.
Lange reported from Washington.
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