President Trump issued 26 pardons on Wednesday, including several with personal ties to the president or members of his administration. One of them is Charles Kushner, father of Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
The elder Kushner served a two-year sentence for a 2005 conviction for preparing false tax returns, witness retaliation, and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. It was a sordid case where Kushner was accused of hiring a prostitute to lure his brother-in-law into an encounter that he recorded on video, then sending the video to the man’s wife, Kushner’s sister, in an effort to intimidate her and keep her from testifying before a grand jury.
“I mean, it’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted when I was U.S. attorney,” said former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a 2019 PBS interview. Christie has claimed that because of that case, Jared Kushner worked to prevent him from being selected for the roles he wanted in Trump’s administration, vice president or attorney general.
The White House’s statement announcing Charles Kushner’s pardon did not discuss the details of the case, focusing instead on Kushner’s substantial charitable contributions.
“Since completing his sentence in 2006, Mr. Kushner has been devoted to important philanthropic organizations and causes, such as Saint Barnabas Medical Center and United Cerebral Palsy,” the statement said. “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 FEC.”
Years before his criminal case, Kushner also helped fund a Jewish elementary school and high school in New Jersey that he named after his parents, and Hofstra University dedicated Kushner Hall in honor of him and his wife. Kushner Hall is the location of the university’s law school, which Kushner graduated from in 1979.
Kushner was also a major contributor to the Democratic Party before supporting Trump in his 2016 campaign.