Kushner pardon revives 'loathsome' tale of tax evasion, sex

FILE - In this March 4, 2005 file photo, Charles B. Kushner, flanked by his wife, Seryl Beth, left, and his attorney Alfred DeCotiis arrives at the Newark Federal Court for sentencing in Newark, N.J. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 issued pardons and sentence commutations for 29 people, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, in the latest burst of clemency in his final weeks at the White House. (AP Photo/Marko Georgiev, File) (AP2005)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called it “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes” he ever prosecuted as U.S. attorney.

After Charles Kushner discovered his brother-in-law was cooperating with federal authorities, the wealthy real estate executive and father of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared, 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.

On Wednesday Trump pardoned Kushner as part of a late-hour clemency spree during the final days of his presidency that has included a slew of campaign aides and allies, among them four of the six Trump associates convicted in the Mueller investigation. 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.

Not mentioned: Kushner's relationship to Jared Kushner, the senior Trump adviser who is married to Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka, and who, inspired by his father's time in prison, pushed Trump to back criminal justice reform legislation and has been an integral part of the administration's clemency efforts.