Many Trump associates faced prison. Unlike Cohen, many got pardons

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After watching his former fixer Michael Cohen testify against him on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump is expected to attend a fundraiser in New York City co-hosted by Charles Kushner, his son-in-law’s father, whom he pardoned in 2020.

The crimes for which Kushner went to prison – tax evasion and campaign finance violations – had nothing to do with Trump, but they were tawdry enough to compete with a porn star hush money trial.

Trying to intimidate his sister from testifying before a grand jury, the elder Kushner set up a sort of rogue sting operation in which he meant to videotape his sister’s brother with a prostitute and then send the tape to his sister.

At least those are the broad outlines of the tale as told by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was then the US attorney for the state who prosecuted the case. Christie was ultimately denied a Trump Cabinet position after Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, opposed the idea. Now Christie, like Cohen, is a former Trump associate trying to take the former president down.

RELATED: Read about Cohen’s testimony in Trump’s trial.

Cohen is rare in the universe of Trump associates since he both turned on Trump and went to prison.

Many of the other Trump aides and associates who faced jail eventually got pardons or clemency and still support the former president.

Manafort still wants to help

Paul Manafort is still in Trump’s camp despite spending years in jail during a legal odyssey. Manafort ran Trump’s 2016 campaign for a time, but then later, while Trump was president, Manafort – who made money as a foreign lobbyist – was convicted for federal tax evasion, among other things. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the US. Trump continually expressed sympathy for Manafort.

Manafort served two years until he was released to home confinement during the Covid-19 pandemic and was ultimately pardoned before Trump left office.

He’s back in the foreign lobbying business, although the optics of being involved in Trump’s 2024 campaign were apparently too much. Manafort recently backed away from a supporting role helping plan the Republican National Convention after media scrutiny over his involvement.

Bannon faces jail for post-pardon activity

Steve Bannon, the former Trump White House chief strategist turned right-wing provocateur, obtained a Trump pardon before he could be tried for allegedly defrauding donors of contributions intended to help build a wall on the US border with Mexico.

Pardoning Bannon was one of Trump’s final acts in office. Bannon associates in the scheme who did not receive pardons have been convicted and sentenced to prison.

Trump’s pardon helped Bannon avoid prosecution in the border wall scheme, but Bannon may yet go to prison.

He was the subject of a rare prosecution by the Department of Justice for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena. Bannon ignored summons to testify before the now-disbanded House committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, insurrection. A federal appeals court recently rejected his attempt to further delay his four-month sentence, and prosecutors this week asked for Bannon’s sentence to be imposed.

Bannon hosts a widely downloaded podcast that is supportive of Trump.

Another former top Trump aide, Peter Navarro, has already reported to prison after his conviction for contempt of Congress.

Trump can’t help Bannon or Navarro now, since he’s not currently president, but he has already promised to use pardon power to help people convicted of crimes related to January 6, a riot committed by his supporters.

Stone, Flynn avoided jail

Trump already has a notable history of helping supporters when he is able. He commuted the sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone, the political operative who was convicted by a jury of, among other things, obstructing the Russia investigation.

Trump also issued a wide-ranging pardon to retired Gen. Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser who was charged with lying to investigators. Flynn had entered a guilty plea and then tried to rescind it, and the yearslong legal saga hung over Trump’s presidency.

Trump issued the Flynn pardon shortly after losing the 2020 presidential election. Flynn is now an avowed QAnon conspiracy theorist, but Trump has said he could bring him back in a second Trump administration.

Trump’s longtime CFO is back on Rikers

Trump also can’t help another lieutenant, Allen Weisselberg, who stayed loyal.

Weisselberg already served one monthslong jail sentence on Rikers Island for a yearslong tax scheme. But then he was found to have lied during a deposition in the civil fraud trial in which Trump was found to have inflated his wealth to get favorable loans. For that perjury, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to different state charges and is now serving another five months at Rikers Island jail.

Even if Trump is reelected, a president cannot use his pardon power to absolve state charges.

Jonathan Karl of ABC News has reported that Trump was actively considering a pardon for Cohen around the time the FBI raided Cohen’s house in 2018. Cohen ultimately spent weeks in solitary confinement for his tax and campaign finance crimes, something he has said was retribution by Trump – although a lawsuit Cohen filed making that allegation was dismissed.

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