AN alleged White House bribery scheme to secure presidential pardons in return for cash is being investigated by the Department of Justice, according to partially unsealed court documents.
The documents, revealed on Tuesday, alleged that there was a potential “secret lobbying scheme” in which people made political contributions in exchange for a “presidential pardon or reprieve of a sentence.”
Unsealed court documents reveal an alleged ‘secret lobbying scheme’ to ‘secure presidential pardons’Credit: EPA
The redacted documents were unsealed on Tuesday
Neither Donald Trump nor Senior White House officials were directly named in the documentsCredit: Getty – Pool
Allegations were detailed in 20 pages of court documents – of which large portions were redacted.
Court documents stated that over 50 electronic devices – including iPhones, iPads, laptops, computer and hard drives, and thumbdrives, were seized along with email communications in investigations of the alleged incidents.
The docs alleged that there was a “secret lobbying scheme” where two redacted names “acted as lobbyists to senior White House officials, without complying with the registration requirement of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.”
The documents alleged this was “to secure ‘a pardon or reprieve of a sentence'” for a person, whose name was also redacted.
Judge Beryl A Howell ordered that communications between an attorney and a client be revealed
Large portions of the documents were redacted
Documents allege there was a ‘secret lobbying scheme’
Documents alleged there was “a related bribery conspiracy scheme, in which ‘[redacted] would offer a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of a sentence for [redacted].”
The redacted court papers allege: “[Redacted], not [redacted], requested [redacted]’s assistance “as a personal favor,” to use his political connections… [redacted].
Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, all lobbying activities must be reported to the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate.
The unsealed documents were dated August 28, 2020.
The redacted court papers do not show dates for events in the alleged scheme, or name anyone who may have been involved.
It’s only revealed in the papers that the digital communications were seized from a number of people – including a lawyer.
“No government official was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing,” a Department of Justice official said in a statement on Tuesday, as reported by ABC.
The documents show that there were hearings in August of this year to allow prosecutors to view communications between an attorney and their client.
Typically, attorney-client privilege would disallow prosecutors from viewing communications.
However, Judge Beryl Howell allowed for the digital devices to be seized and for the communications to be investigated in this case, “to confront subjects and targets of the investigation,” according to the documents.
No charges appear to have been made in the investigations at this time.
President Trump made a baseless claim that the investigations are “fake” on Tuesday night.
Credit: Twitter/ @realDonaldTrump
The documents were revealed the week after former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was pardonedCredit: Reuters
No charges appear to have been made in the alleged bribery schemeCredit: EPA
Documents were unsealed as President Trump is reportedly considering more presidental pardons in his final weeks in officeCredit: Splash News
“Pardon investigation is Fake News!” Trump tweeted.
The unsealed documents came amid reports of a pre-emptive pardon from Donald Trump for his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, among others.
Giuliani and the president were reportedly in talks last week, per the New York Times, as Trump’s time in office is down to just a little more than four weeks.
Trump’s personal lawyer could be the next to follow suit, after the president pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn last Wednesday.
The talks were also said to include potential pardons for a wave for others who requested them – including Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort and Joe Exotic.
Giuliani swiftly denied the report.