DOJ investigating bribery conspiracy involving presidential pardons

DOJ prosecutors asked the judge to keep certain details in the 'secret lobbying scheme' investigation confidential as no one has yet been charged

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The Department of Justice is investigating allegations that the White House was funneled money in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to unsealed court records.

CNN exclusively reported that the potential bribery scheme was unsealed Tuesday in federal court in the District of Columbia by Chief Judge Beryl Howell. The heavily redacted documents were just made public and were from a request by prosecutors to obtain these records over individuals offering money for pardons.

Read More: DOJ releases Trump pardon of Flynn, seek court dismissal

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The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice building in Washington, DC. (Credit: DOJ)

The 20-page filing did not offer a timeline or name any of the suspected individuals. It only divulges that there was a raid conducted this summer and that communications involving a lawyer were seized. Some of the items included iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives and computer drives after investigators raided the unidentified offices where the bribery attempts were made.

Prosecutors alleged that “a secret lobbying scheme” and a bribery conspiracy that offered “a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence” in relation to a person who was convicted according to the heavily redacted documents.

Howell granted prosecutors access to the privileged communications between the lawyer and their client because a potential crime offered an exemption.

“The political strategy to obtain a presidential pardon was ‘parallel’ to and distinct from [redacted]’s role as an attorney-advocate for [redacted name],” Howell wrote in her court order.

The DOJ further asked Howell to keep the findings of their investigation confidential for the time being as “individuals and conduct” were not publicly named yet.

Read More: Giulani discussed pre-emptive pardon with Trump: report

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The news of this investigation comes amid President Donald Trump’s time in office coming to an end after President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. TheGrio reported last week that Trump offered a pardon to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who admitted to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts.

Flynn will be absolved from any possible future perjury or contempt charge in connection with his previous sworn statements in connection to Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. It will also protect him from any other possible future charge that this Court or the court-appointed amicus has suggested might somehow keep this criminal case alive over the government’s objection,” the Justice Department wrote.

theGrio also reported that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has also sought out a pardon from the president before he leaves office in January. The New York Times cited sources close to the former mayor of New York who was previously investigated by federal prosecutors for his business dealings in Ukraine and the removal of its American ambassador.

“Mayor Giuliani cannot comment on any discussions that he has with his client,” said Christianne Allen Giuliani’s spokesperson stated.

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