The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an active criminal investigation into an alleged “secret lobbying program” in which individuals allegedly offered money in the form of political contributions to White House figures in exchange for presidential pardon, court documents released Tuesday.
The investigation was first made public in the U.S. District Court in Washington by publishing heavily revised documents. The persons investigated in relation to the alleged scheme and the timeframe for the alleged implementation of the scheme are currently unknown.
The documents uncovered an investigation into a system in which two unnamed individuals “acted as lobbyists before senior White House officials without complying with the obligation to register under the Lobbying Act” in order to secure “pardon or revocation of punishment”. ”.
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The petition also referred to a “related bribery conspiracy scheme” in which one of the persons under investigation would “offer a significant political contribution to an unnamed person for presidential pardon or revocation of a sentence”. The documents then describe their actions as “bribes of grace”.
“No government official was or is currently the subject or target of the investigation uncovered in this file,” an DOJ official told Fox News in the knowledge of the matter.
In August, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell examined a request from federal prosecutors seeking access to emails exchanged by individuals under investigation. Howell found that emails do not fall under attorney-client privileges and can be reviewed as part of the investigation.
As part of the federal investigation, the government’s screening team “seized more than fifty digital media devices, including iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives, and computer and external hard drives,” the documents revealed. Screening groups are used to isolate prosecutors from privileged information that cannot be used in court.
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We’ve updated this story.