The Department of Justice investigated a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump and a lawyer for Jared Kushner this summer in connection with an alleged scheme to pay a bribe for a pardon, The New York Times reports. A federal judge in Washington, D.C. unsealed court documents Thursday that showed the Department of Justice had scrutinized Elliott Broidy, former deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, and lawyer Abbe Lowell as part of probe into a San Francisco billionaire’s effort to secure a pardon for a Berkeley psychologist’s conviction on tax evasion and Social Security fraud. Lowell represented the psychologist, Hugh Baras, and the alleged scheme entailed the billionaire, Sanford Diller, making a “a substantial political contribution” to an unspecified person or organization on Baras’ behalf. The documents say someone made contact with the White House counsel’s office to “ensure” that the “clemency petition reached the targeted officials.” In the end, the psychologist went to prison in 2017, was released in 2019, and has not received a pardon; the billionaire died in 2018; no bribe was made; and Broidy pleaded guilty in October to illegally trying to influence the Trump administration on behalf of a Malaysian businessman. Neither Broidy nor Lowell has been charged as a result of the investigation.
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