The Justice Department is investigating allegations of a scheme to funnel money to the White House or an associated political action committee in exchange for a presidential pardon.
The investigation was revealed in a partially redacted Washington DC District Court court record that was released on Tuesday. The documents show Chief Justice Beryl Howell considered an August request by prosecutors to review documents obtained in a search related to a corruption investigation.
The documents do not reveal any timelines or the names of anyone involved in an alleged plot to influence the White House, and no one appears to have been publicly charged with any crime in connection with the investigation so far.
What they show, however, is that an office raid seized communications between at least two people, one of whom is a lawyer, before the end of this summer, according to CNN. The evidence seized includes more than 50 digital devices, including iPhones, tablets, laptops and computer readers.
Prosecutors were asking for access to the attorney’s communications, which are generally protected by law, as they believed they contained evidence, in the form of emails, showing a “secret lobbying plan” and a conspiracy to trade. “A substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential election. pardon or suspended sentence ”for a convicted defendant, whose name is also redacted.
The dossier also mentions unregistered “lobbyists of senior White House officials” who attempted to obtain a pardon by sending a bribe through an intermediary.
Prosecutors have yet to present any evidence of a payment, but rather that an individual was seeking a pardon based on past and expected political donations.
Investigators also said they planned to “confront” three people with the seized documents and complete their investigation.
The White House did not comment on the story, and the DOJ did not respond to a request for comment.
The president has pardoned 29 people since taking office, most recently Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with a Russian official.
Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, discussed obtaining a “preventive” pardon from the White House, Le New York Times reported, which Mr. Giuliani denies.