The pardon was part of a late-hour clemency spree that involved 26 pardons, among them campaign chairman Paul Manafort and longtime friend Roger Stone.
By World Israel News Staff and AP
President Donald Trump pardoned Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, a senior advisor and son-in-law, on Wednesday. Jared is married to Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka.
The pardon was part of a late-hour clemency spree that involved 26 pardons, among them campaign chairman Paul Manafort and longtime friend Roger Stone. Trump has pardoned a slew of campaign aides and allies. He has granted clemency to nearly 50 people in the last week.
The White House in its announcement cited Kushner’s charitable work since he completed his sentence in 2006 as the reason he deserved clemency.
“This record of reform and charity overshadows Mr. Kushner’s conviction and 2 year sentence for preparing false tax returns, witness retaliation, and making false statements” to the Federal Election Commission, the White House said, adding that Kushner’s case had been championed by Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and others.
Kushner eventually pleaded guilty to 18 counts including tax evasion and witness tampering. He was sentenced in 2005 to two years in prison — the most he could receive under a plea deal, but less than Christie had sought.
Kushner also agreed to pay $508,900 to the FEC for violating contribution regulations by failing to obtain an OK from partners to whom more than $500,000 in contributions were credited.
He has since resumed his career in real estate, including purchasing the famed Watchtower complex along the Brooklyn Bridge, the former headquarters for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The younger Kushner has talked openly about how deeply his father’s imprisonment impacted his life. In his early 20s and a law and business school student in the mid-2000s when his father was sentenced, he suddenly found himself having to run the family’s businesses while shuttling back and forth on weekends to see his father in Alabama.
“When you’re on the other side of the system, you feel so helpless,” Jared Kushner said in 2018. “I felt like, I was on this side of the system, so how can I try to do whatever I can do to try to be helpful to the people who are going through it” and deserve a second chance.
But Charles Kushner told The New York Times in 2018 that he wasn’t interested in clemency, saying he “would prefer not to have a pardon” because it would garner publicity.
In what is the most salacious part of his crime, when Charles Kushner discovered his brother-in-law was cooperating with federal authorities, the wealthy real estate executive hatched a scheme for revenge and intimidation.
Kushner hired a prostitute to lure his brother-in-law, then arranged to have the encounter in a New Jersey motel room recorded with a hidden camera and the recording sent to his own sister, the man’s wife.
The scheme didn’t work. Kushner later pleaded guilty to tax evasion and making illegal campaign donations in a case tailor-made for tabloid headlines.