WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump issued 26 pardons on Wednesday night, including those of his son-in-law’s father, Jared Kushner, as well as his campaign manager Paul Manafort 2016 and Republican politician Roger Stone.
The 70-year-old Manafort was among the first in Trump’s inner circle to bring charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Manafort thanked Trump on Twitter for preventing him from serving the majority of his 7 and 1/2 year prison sentences.
“Words cannot fully convey how grateful we are,” wrote the longtime Republican. Manafort was released from prison earlier this year because of concerns about the coronavirus.
Manhattan prosecutors are still trying to prosecute Manafort for New York state crimes.
A judge had stopped DA Cyrus Vance Jr. from bringing this case to court because he claimed he would break the double risk rules if he were not prosecuted twice for the same conduct. Vance is appealing this decision.
“This action underscores the urgent need to hold Mr. Manafort accountable for his alleged crimes against the New York people in our indictment, and we will continue to appeal,” said Danny Frost, a spokesman for Vance.
Stone was convicted on oath in November 2019 during a U.S. federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Earlier this year, Trump commuted Stones three-year and four-month sentences less than a week before the Republican agent’s term began.
In July, the White House named Stone “a victim of the Russian joke” and someone “who would be at medical risk” if he were detained.
Roger Stone, former campaign advisor to US President Donald Trump, arrives at federal court on February 20, 2020 in Washington, USA, where he is to be sentenced.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Real estate mogul Charles Kushner, whose son Jared Kushner is a senior White House adviser, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty in 2004 to 18 cases of tax evasion, witness manipulation and illegal campaign donations.
Among other things, Kushner had hired a prostitute to lure his own brother-in-law William Schulder into a sexual tryst that was secretly videotaped and then sent to the husband’s wife, Charles Kushner’s sister. The stunt was intended to prevent Schulder from witnessing an investigation into Kushner for illegal campaign contributions.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a key Trump ally who prosecuted Charles Kushner, said in an interview last year that Kushner committed “one of the most heinous, obnoxious crimes I have prosecuted as a US attorney.”
Trump also pardoned Margaret Hunter, the estranged wife of former MP Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds for personal expenses.
Duncan Hunter, convicted of the same crimes in the same case, had been pardoned by Trump the night before in a first wave of pardons from the president, who refuses to admit that he lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.
Trump on Tuesday apologized to 15 people, including two men convicted as part of Special Envoy Robert Mueller’s investigation and four former Blackwater US guards convicted of the 2007 murders of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
Others who received pardons included former GOP MP Chris Collins from Buffalo, New York, who illegally tipped his son about a failed drug trial at a pharmaceutical company.
Another pardon on Tuesday was Philip Esformes, owner of a health facility in South Florida, who was in the first few years of a 20-year prison sentence for prosecutors saying it was “the biggest healthcare fraud ever charged by the Justice Department.” “”