Justice Department investigating 'bribery conspiracy scheme' involving presidential pardon, documents show

Justice Department investigating 'bribery conspiracy scheme' involving presidential pardon, documents show”

Unregistered lobbyists allegedly tried to coax senior White House officials while pushing a "Bribery-for-pardon" scheme involving a "substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence", a federal judge revealed in a heavily redacted order released on Tuesday.

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.

The documents show that US prosecutors were scrutinizing whether two individuals approached senior White House officials as unregistered lobbyists, and a related scheme in which cash would be funneled through intermediaries for a pardon or reprieve of a sentence for a defendant apparently in Federal Bureau of Prisons custody at some point.

CNN broke some stunning news Tuesday that the Department of Justice is investigating a potential crime concerning an apparent bribery-for-pardon scheme.

It suggests that the donor is making the offer on behalf of the person seeking clemency. "If the president was involved, he would not be immune from prosecution for it". The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

More news: Server Requirements for Mass Mailing

According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who unsealed the court documents Tuesday, granted the investigators access to the emails that were not protected by the attorney-client privilege. No one appears to have been charged to date in the alleged scheme.

According to Howell's order, government investigators said they had seized "over fifty digital media devices, including iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives, and computer and external hard drives".

"For the foregoing reasons, email communications between and among [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], or any agents of these individuals, that were sent, copied or forwarded to [REDACTED] in connection with the alleged [Lobbying Disclosure Act] scheme or Bribery-for-pardon scheme described in the government's motion are not covered by the attorney-client or other privilege", the order states. In an update to the court November 25, the Justice Department asked to keep the ruling secret because it "identifies both individuals and conduct that have not been charged by the grand jury".

There is also public discussion of Trump issuing a pardon for himself, for any crimes he might be charged with related to his time in office - though the legality of that has never been tested.

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