Legal Law

It's time for editorial bingo: the bribes for the president's pardon

A completely related picture. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

The president is reportedly considering apologizing to three of his children, his lawyer, and even himself. Not because they did something wrong, of course, but only as a nice farewell present.

Everyone else, however, will have to purchase one from the White House gift shop. ALLEGEDLY.

Last night, CNN first noted an interesting file on the US District Court file in DC where Judge Beryl A. Howell on August 28 overturned a ruling on a system for paying a bribe in exchange for a presidential pardon.

The order relates to a search warrant executed in two offices where the government found:

(O) Very fifty digital media devices, including iPhones, iPads, laptops, USB sticks, as well as computer and external hard drives … (several terabytes of data in total). “The seized email communications were identified as“ evidence of additional criminal activity ”. Namely: (1) a "secret lobbying program" … in which (edited) and (edited) lobbyists for senior White House officials without meeting the requirements of the Lobbying Disclosure Act ("LDA"), 2 USC Sections 1601 ff., In order to "secure a pardon or a postponement of the sentence for (edited) … and (2) an associated bribery conspiracy scheme in which" (edited) would make a significant political contribution in exchange for a pardon for the president or postponement of the sentence for (edited) "using (extremely long editing)" as an intermediary to deliver the proposed bribe. "

The government wasn't looking for a bribe when they entered. They were looking for … something else.

What they found, however, was evidence that the alleged bribe, who was at one point in the care of the Bureau of Prisons, sought mercy from the President based on "past major campaign contributions" and "expected future major political contributions". Which is an unorthodox basis for discretion.

Most of the filing is being edited, but it seems like a safe bet that at least one of the parties whose offices were raided was a lawyer. Several players appear to be lawyers and the court is going to great lengths to bring clients together to advise and determine which parties are in privacy.

The government referred to the exception of crime and / or the presence of third parties in its request for access to lawyer notices seized during the raid. And Judge Howell agreed, stating that “regardless of the attorney-client relationship that may have existed with (redacted) or (redacted), any communication related to the alleged LDA or bribe is between or between these individuals Any communications (edited) in which communications were subscribed or otherwise received are not protected by attorney or any other privilege and are therefore subject to review by the government investigation team. "

However, where the court was leaving with the government, it was important to protect the matter from the public. On August 28, Judge Howell gave the DOJ 90 days to prepare a report on which parts of the decision could not be processed. On November 25th, the government gave a very brief answer: none. However, the court was not convinced that the entire matter needed to be kept under lock and key just because it was a matter of parties that were not indicted by a grand jury. This brings us to the last night that heavily edited version ended up on the public record.

Obviously, the filing leaves us with a lot more questions than answers, but we know some important details: We know that this is someone who has been caught in federal custody after making significant contributions to a political campaign. We know he or she has a complicated relationship with an attorney who has access to the White House – sometimes that attorney is the attorney, sometimes that attorney is not. And we know that Bill Barr's Justice Department came on the mat to keep this case under wraps during the election.

Rudy Giuliani's friends Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were charged in October 2019 for making an illegal Strawman donation of $ 325,000 to Donald Trump's PAC campaign. Giuliani received $ 500,000 from Parnas and Fruman to advise on their Fraud Guarantee company, but Giuliani also claimed to have used it in his work on behalf of the president trying to defile Joe Biden in Ukraine. When Parnas was arrested, he even tried to claim executive privilege, claiming to fall under the magical umbrella of the Trump-Rudy omnibus privilege. And the government added fees on Parnas' ticket three weeks after Judge Howell gave the DOJ the green light to access these controversial means of communication.

Anyway, it's probably just a coincidence. Continue.

Order (In the matter of finding the premises known as the REDACTED Office and the REDACTED Office, No. 20-gj-35-BAH (D.D.C. December 1, 2020))

Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore, where she writes on law and politics.

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