Trump Pardons Jared Kushner’s Dad, Who Paid a Prostitute to Seduce His Brother-in-Law
Getty Images (2) Charles Kushner (left), Donald Trump
Just two days before Christmas, President Donald Trump gave some of his closest allies a memorable gift and issued 29 pardons or commutations to those convicted of crimes, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, longtime loyalist Roger Stone and Jared Kushner's father.
Manafort and Stone's pardons, while controversial because of their crimes, were not entirely unexpected (both men have reportedly expressed confidence that they will be sentenced publicly or privately to a transformed sentence).
The announcement that Charles Kushner - the father of Trump's son-in-law Jared - would also have his sentence commuted was not a shock either.
Still, the move was noteworthy in that the elder Kushner had previously said he would "prefer not to have a pardon" because of the public that inevitably would follow.
As predicted, Kushner's pardon has re-exposed the filthy acts that got him to jail in the first place.
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Kushner was a multimillionaire real estate manager and leading Democratic donor when he was sentenced to two years in prison in 2005 after pleading guilty on 18 counts, including tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions.
When Kushner discovered his brother-in-law and former business partner was helping federal agencies investigate, he set out for revenge (and, as prosecutors would argue, intimidating witnesses).
The wealthy New York real estate tycoon hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law at a New Jersey motel so that the encounter could be recorded on a hidden camera.
Then he showed the video to his brother-in-law's wife: Kushner's sister.
An interesting twist in the saga is that Kushner's law enforcement was overseen by the then United States. Attorney Chris Christie, who would later become a prominent Trump replacement and head of his transition team.
Christie's story with the Kushner family would play a huge role over his time with the Trump team. In 2016 he was ousted from the election campaign, and many blamed Jared Kushner for his firing. Even so, Christie has consistently defended his decision to prosecute Charles Kushner, even writing a book that partly focuses on the saga: Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of Politics on Your Face .
"Mr. Kushner pleaded guilty. He admitted the crimes," Christie told PBS in a 2019 interview. "And what should I do as a prosecutor? I mean, when a man hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, and.. videotape them and then send the video to his sister to try to stop her from testifying in front of a grand jury, do I really need more justification than that? "
Christie went on, "I mean, it's one of the heinous, heinous crimes I've prosecuted. And I was a US attorney in New Jersey, so we had a heinous and heinous crime there."
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According to a press release announcing his guilty plea, Kushner admitted that he "devised a scheme to get revenge on a cooperating witness and her husband by having a prostitute seduce her husband and undercover film them having sex".
The release reads: "Kushner informed the court that he had paid a private investigator $ 25,000 to arrange for the seduction and videotape of the cooperating witness's husband. Kushner admitted that he personally recruited and directed the prostitute to send the videotape to the cooperating witness. " ""
Kushner also pleaded guilty to having participated in the filing of false tax returns in 16 cases and of having made false statements to the Bundestag Election Commission in one case.
Kushner's son Jared is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka and serves as senior adviser to the president.
This family relationship was not mentioned in Wednesday's White House statement on pardons, suggesting that Kushner's grace was the result of his philanthropic work.
"Since his 2006 conviction, Mr. Kushner has been dedicated to important philanthropic organizations and causes such as Saint Barnabas Medical Center and United Cerebral Palsy," the statement said. "These record of reform and charity overshadow Mr. Kushner's conviction and two-year prison sentence for filing false tax returns, retaliating with witnesses and making false statements to the FEC."
Critics, however, blew up Trump's Wednesday pardon wave, and Republican Senator Ben Sasse called it "rotten to the core".
Political advisor David Axelrod described the pardons as unsurprising yet "appalling" and warned that more are likely before Trump leaves office in January.
"Everyone has seen this raw wastewater dump with pardons and commutations for @ realDonaldTrump apparatchiks and loyalists," Axelrod tweeted about the news of the pardons. "It's the least surprising news. Yet the spectacle is still appalling. And it's not over yet!"
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