- Alongside 28 other pardons and commutations President Donald Trump granted on Wednesday, Charles Kushner, 66, was given a full pardon.
- Charles Kushner was investigated by prosecutors for making illegal campaign donations in 2003, and at the time, his brother-in-law and former business partner William Schulder had assisted prosecutors.
- Once Charles learned of Schulder’s cooperation, he hired a sex worker to attempt to seduce Schulder. The encounter was recorded with a hidden camera and Kushner delivered the tapes to Schulder’s wife as revenge.
- In the end, Charles pleaded guilty and was charged with 18 counts of assisting in the filing of false tax returns, one count of retaliating against a federal witness, and one count of lying to the Federal Election Commission. He served a 2-year sentence.
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President Donald Trump continued his pardon spree on Wednesday, and alongside allies and former campaign officials, he pardoned Charles Kushner, the father of White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law.
The elder Kushner was convicted in 2005 for preparing false tax returns, witness retaliation, and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. He pleaded guilty and served 2 years in prison.
In the press release profiling the 26 new pardons and three commutations announced on Wednesday – including GOP strategist Roger Stone and Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort – the White House said that “since completing his sentence in 2006, Mr. Kushner has been devoted to important philanthropic organizations and causes.”
‘One of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes’
Charles Kushner and his father founded Kushner Companies in 1985. Charles ran the New York City real estate company until he was sentenced to prison in 2005.
In 2003, prosecutors investigated him for making illegal campaign donations, and at the time, his brother-in-law and former business partner William Schulder had assisted their probe.
Once Charles learned of Schulder’s cooperation, he hired a sex worker to attempt to seduce Schulder and sleep with him, an act that Charles had recorded with a hidden camera. He delivered the tapes to Schulder’s wife as revenge.
In the end, Charles pleaded guilty to 16 counts of tax evasion, one count of retaliating against a federal witness, and one count of lying to the FEC.
He served a 14-month prison sentence in Alabama, where his family visited him on a weekly basis, according to the Real Deal.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who prosecuted Charles Kushner as then-US attorney for the state, told PBS’s Margaret Hoover on “Firing Line” in 2019 it was “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted.”
—Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) January 29, 2019
Jared Kushner has defended his father, and Kushner Companies has been shrouded in other controversies
Although his father admitted to his crimes, Jared has often defended Charles.
In 2009, Jared told New York Magazine: “His siblings stole every piece of paper from his office, and they took it to the government. Siblings that he literally made wealthy for doing nothing. He gave them interests in the business for nothing. All he did was put the tape together and send it. Was it the right thing to do? At the end of the day, it was a function of saying, ‘You’re trying to make my life miserable? Well, I’m doing the same.'”
That same year, Jared married Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter. They have both served as White House advisors for Trump’s entire presidency. Prior to serving in the White House, Kusher “transferred large portions of his real estate holdings and the New York Observer to a family trust overseen by his mother, Seryl and sold additional assets to his brother Joshua,” CNN reported at the time.
Kushner Companies, before and after Charles’ and Jared’s tenures, has long been shrouded in controversy.
After Jared assumed the role of CEO in 2008, he sold off many holdings and bought 666 Fifth Avenue, a mixed-use building that has been the source of multiple complaints and investigations.
According to Town and Country, in 2018, Kushner Companies confirmed that the US attorney in Brooklyn had subpoenaed the company regarding its support of a program that allowed foreigners to invest $500,000 to fast-track US residency and citizenship. Kushner Companies sold the skyscraper in August 2018.
Jared Kushner also holds ownership of several Baltimore-area apartment complexes that have been embroiled in housing violations and mismanagement accusations for years.