The Department of Justice is investigating a potential bribery scheme involving an individual funneling money to the White House in exchange for a pardon for someone from Donald Trump.
The heavily redacted 18 page document did not name any of the individuals or provide details of the scheme which US District Judge Beryl Howell calls “bribery for pardon.” The plot involved the person offering “a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence.”
Very few details are known so it’s still unclear about whether or not Donald Trump knew about the scheme.
Investigators recovered more than 50 digital devices, including iPhones, iPads, laptops and computer drives, after a raid of an unidentified individual offices. The prosecutors were requesting access to the devices on suspicion that they showed alleged criminal activity regarding the “secret lobbying scheme” for the unnamed person.
The Justice Department asked Judge Howell for permission to view certain electronic communications between a lawyer and clients, who were not identified.
Howell granted the request in August, saying attorney-client privilege did not apply in that instance.
“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.
In the waning days of his presidency, Donald Trump is expected to pardon a number of top allies. He got the ball rolling last week by issuing a full pardon to his former National Security adviser Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat.