The Kushner Family, Alan Dershowitz, and Trump White House Pardons
Explaining The Chain...
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So, in Sunday’s New York Times there was a very long, detailed article about a seemingly very strange Trump White House pardon to a young man, Jonathan Braun, who had ties to the Kushner family. According to The Times, Braun was serving a 10-year sentence for trafficking marijuana and cooperating with a federal investigation, when the pardon came down the pike. As a result the government lost a key witness and a major investigation into predatory lending was stalled. Reportedly, Jared Kushner had been heavily involved in lobbying for Braun’s pardon. Kushner declined to comment.
The article reported how Braun had been in the same class as Nicole Kushner, Jared’s younger sister, at Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, NJ. One of the school’s main benefactors is Kushner’s father, Charles, who hung up the phone when contacted by The New York Times.
The article also reported the involvement of lawyer Alan Dershowitz. I remembered Dershowitz’s involvement — and direct line to Kushner advisor Avi Berkowitz — in another Trump White House pardon (commutation, to be precise), that of kosher meat kingpin, Sholom Rubashkin. (I broke this story for CNN in 2019. The story is linked below.)
This spurred me to phone Dershowitz.
Dershowitz told me he’d been much more involved in the commuting of Rubashkin’s sentence than in Braun’s case. He told me:
That involved the former head of the FBI, the former Attorney General of the United States.
We got very prominent people, Democrats and Republicans, because it was a very antisemitic sentence. And so that was a very just cause…
I don't know anything about this one except that the father used to call me all the time and cry on the phone.
So I just communicated that call to somebody in the [White House Counsel’s] office. But that was it.
The “father” Dershowitz is referring to is Jacob Braun, who, according to The Times, was close with Charles Kushner and sought his help with his son’s pardon. On one level, of course, this seems a sympathetic, decent thing to do. But on another level it raises questions about preferential cronyism perverting justice. According to The Times, Braun had escaped actually serving a sentence for a bizarrely long amount of time, and the Justice Department was severely hampered when he was suddenly pardoned.
I went back to a few of my old Kushner Inc sources to get their thoughts and a couple sounded weary. “It’s all so familiar, by now,” one person who used to work with Charles Kushner told me. “But what’s really troubling is that if Trump wins in 2024, this is who will be running the country again.”
Read my CNN article - “The inside story of how a kosher meat kingpin won clemency under Trump” - here.