Legal experts were stunned on Tuesday after newly unsealed court documents showed that the Department of Justice is investigating a "pardon bribery scheme" involving money directed to the White House.
"The Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to court records unsealed Tuesday in federal court," CNN reported. "The case is the latest legal twist in the waning days of President Donald Trump's administration after several of his top advisers have been convicted of federal criminal charges and as the possibility rises of Trump giving pardons to those who've been loyal to him."
"At the end of this summer, a filter team, used to make sure prosecutors don't receive tainted evidence that should have been kept from them because it was privileged, had more than 50 digital devices including iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives and computer drives after investigators raided the unidentified offices," CNN reported. "The grand jury investigation also appears to relate to unnamed people acting as unregistered 'lobbyists to senior White House officials' as they sought to secure a pardon and use an intermediary to send a bribe, the unsealed court records say."
Legal experts were shocked by the revelations in the court filings.
Former Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara simply said, "whoa."
Whoa https://t.co/FqJDCBWmSD— Preet Bharara (@Preet Bharara)1606865079.0
Fordham Law Prof. Jed Shugerman surprised by the amount of electronic devices seized -- and wondered if any GOP senators may be in the redactions.
4/ I think we have a right to ask if any incumbent Senators might be in these redactions... There was quite an insi… https://t.co/fStlqAD35K— Jed Shugerman (@Jed Shugerman)1606865797.0
Watergate figure and former Nixon White House counsel John Dean offered his prediction.
We can be (relatively? absolutely?) sure that Donald Trump did not report that someone was trying to give him a lot… https://t.co/LUiwCdLtqG— John W. Dean (@John W. Dean)1606867039.0
Court reporter Adam Klasfeld said he had never seen anything like it.
Covering the courts for more than a decade, this is the first time that I encountered a federal judge talking about… https://t.co/him0BfN7Xw— Adam Klasfeld (@Adam Klasfeld)1606865614.0
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a former military prosecutor, blasted the White House after the report.
Wow. Now we learn @TheJusticeDept is investigating bribery for pardon. The past four years have shown the… https://t.co/ftPEaKquuC— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu)1606865526.0
Attorney Bradley Moss suggested it may involve Rudy Giuliani.
Not to be overlooked: the emails that tipped DOJ off to a potential bribery for pardon scheme came from an *existin… https://t.co/HggA3z9FIm— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss)1606865577.0
Former DOJ attorney Norm Eisen also wondered if Giuliani may be involved.
Just re-tweeting this from earlier today. No, I did not have advance notice that there was a pardons-for-cash sch… https://t.co/YvhBB7BblD— Norm Eisen (@Norm Eisen)1606866255.0
MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber broke it down:
BREAKING: U.S. Justice Dept. is conducting an investigation into allegations of a bribery scheme for a presidential… https://t.co/TYQO9AT9Sr— MSNBC (@MSNBC)1606866838.0