Trump’s People: The Prettyman Pardons

As we wait for Trump to be arraigned in Prettyman Courthouse, I thought it worthwhile to list the 16 men who were prosecuted in Prettyman Courthouse that Trump pardoned, and their crimes:

  1. Scooter Libby: Obstruction of justice and perjury
  2. David Safavian: Obstruction of justice and false statements
  3. Mike Flynn: False statements
  4. Alex Van Der Zwaan: False statements
  5. George Papadopoulos: False statements
  6. Paul Slough, Manslaughter (Blackwater Nisour Square)
  7. Nicholas Slatten: Murder (Blackwater Nisour Square)
  8. Evan Liberty: Manslaughter (Blackwater Nisour Square)
  9. Dustin Laurent Heard: Manslaughter (Blackwater Nisour Square)
  10. Roger Stone: Obstruction of a proceeding, false statements, witness tampering
  11. Paul Manafort: Conspiracy to defraud the US (money laundering and FARA), conspiracy to obstruct (witness tampering)
  12. Robert Coughlin: Conflict of interest
  13. Todd Boulanger: Wire fraud
  14. Elliot Broidy: Conspiracy to violate FARA
  15. Douglas Jemal, Wire fraud
  16. Aviem Sella, Espionage

Four of these men lied to cover up Trump’s own Russian ties; a fifth, the son-in-law of Alfa Bank oligarch German Khan, Alex Van Der Zwaan, lied to cover up Manafort’s past Ukraine graft. A sixth, Elliot Broidy, did fundraising for Trump.

These are Trump’s people.

A lot of Republicans are wailing that Trump shouldn’t be prosecuted in DC. Marsha Blackburn is arguing that Trump should be treated differently than her constituents Lisa Eisenhart and Eric Munchel, who were prosecuted for conspiracy to obstruct the vote count, just like Trump is facing. Tim Scott is arguing that Trump should be treated differently than his constituent George Tenney, who was prosecuted for obstructing the vote count, just like Trump is facing.

But if anything, it is more appropriate to prosecute Trump in DC than Munchel (Zip Tie Guy) and Tenney (who opened the East Door of the Capitol). After all, he was a resident of DC when his alleged crimes were committed.

More importantly, even just the list of those he pardoned make it clear that Prettyman felons are his kind of people. Donald Trump is precisely where he belongs today.

102 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    Legally unwary, quite contrary
    How do Trump’s charges grow?
    With legal fails, and a crock o’tales
    And Prettymen all in a row

  2. CaptainCondorcet says:

    12. A dozen. 0.003% of the 2020 DC voting population. That is the number of people that apparently can’t be found to be impartial in that district, a district where 25,000 people voted for someone other than Biden. They have claimed over 300,000 Americans are, without a single question asked in jury selection, unworthy of the constitutional duty of serving on a trial of their peer. One wonders for these copy-paste opportunists which district is the white one to hold the trial.

      • CaptainCondorcet says:

        To whatever extent any of this is original thought by them and not regurgitated bullet points from on high, I think they’re more terrified of Judge Chutkan. Statistically significant harsher sentences than her peers, but most importantly, she already has experience dealing with Trump’s J6 delay tactics. “Presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president” probably still echoes in the ears of TFG and his supporters on the Hill.

        Oh, and she is a woman of color. But by now the dog whistles should be a given.

      • ThomasJ7777 says:

        Can we agree that moving the trial to WVA is a preposterous suggestion that will be thrown out of court?

          • BRUCE F COLE says:

            In the event of a motion to change venue, do you think the govt will argue that the capital itself, the seat of US government, was most impacted by Trump’s crime spree? i.e., will they venture into the unsettled venue-determination territory of “effects?”

              • BirdGardener says:

                Us. The citizens of the United States. We are the government, and too many people have forgotten that. We govern ourselves, through our elected representatives. The unelected bureaucrats are our fellow citizens, hired by more of our fellow citizens, and ultimately overseen by people we elected. We are the ones under attack; this is our democracy, and I wish more people acted as if they understood this. The government = us.

                I know y’all know this, but it needs to be said more often.

      • J R in WV says:

        I must confess — there are a whole lot of Trumpist true believers here in WV! If we didn’t have such great roots here, but we do have those roots…

    • scroogemcduck says:

      How surprising that Trump’s legal advisers are floating something that is flagrantly unconstitutional! They need to read the 6th Amendment.

      • Joeff53 says:

        The Sixth Amendment grants rights, which by definition may be waived. Article III venue provision appears to be mandatory.

  3. John B. says:

    This is such a great and “simple” point and post. Really perfect. Making this list of his pardons is illuminating. I am not sure I have seen a list like this before.

    • Eichhörnchen says:

      And those are just the pardonees (can you tell I’m NAL?) who had been prosecuted in Prettyman.

      • HikaakiH says:

        They certainly are ‘pardonees’ and Trump is the Pardoner. I’m sure there is something to be made of drawing some parallels between Trump and Chaucer’s Pardoner.

        • HikaakiH says:

          (missing the edit button)
          The Pardoner is a lying, greedy hypocrite who solicits payments in exchange for the ‘indulgences’.

  4. Spank Flaps says:

    Trump will continue to push the Big Lie that he won all the states, and that he is “popular”.
    In the next breath he’s court shopping, to dodge districts where he claims to be universally despised.
    Fundamentally if he didn’t want a trial in DC, he shouldn’t have committed crimes in DC.

      • Kope a Pia says:

        Baretta a 70’s police detective TV show staring Robert Blake. Ironically in real life Blake was charged with murder. He was acquitted of murder after the defense destroyed the credibility of the 2 main witnesses along with no gun reside on Blakes hands. I guess gloves had not been invented yet.

  5. PeteT0323 says:

    I see Trump is wailing that he is going to DC to be arrested today.

    I am of the belief, but IANAL, that he is voluntarily surrendering and not being arrested.

    Perhaps it is semantical, but for sure more arousing for the MAGATs.

      • smf88011 says:

        What do you think of Trump’s going out on social media last night asking the Supreme Court to intercede on his indictments? I don’t think it will go anywhere but it shows how desperate he truly is right now.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      More Trump lies. Nor is he likely to be detained after his arraignment. He’ll most likely be released on his own recognizance, which means he won’t have to post bail, either.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      Your use of wailing reminded me of the baby Trump blimp and made me chuckle. Thank you for that.

    • Zinsky123 says:

      As noted, Trump appearing voluntarily, it is more than semantical. It is the legal difference between a summons and an arrest warrant, but in my mind, it is symbolically as significant that a former president voluntarily surrenders to the government he essentially tried to overthrow. It makes me proud one more time and grateful to be an American that this vile man will finally be held to account for his crimes.

  6. Timothy Hince says:

    A gaggle of Erik Prince employees also.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “Timothy Hince” is your second user name; you commented last as “NCTim1957.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

  7. Peterr says:

    Seeing Scooter’s name at the top of that list brings back a lot of memories. Feeling nostalgic for liveblogging from Prettyman, Marcy?

      • Baltimark says:

        Been (mostly) lurking for something like eight years now here and still enjoy (sincerely, not ironically) being part of the New Guard by virtue of being post-FDL. The shared depth of much of the commentariat here is so great and rare.

        Sometime, I need to try to figure out WHY I wasn’t an FDL guy back in the day. I was fairly immersed in both music and political blogs since before they were called blogs (and I recall posting daily HTML updates from a Baltimore theatre company I was involved with when they played Edinburgh circa ’97ish). I do remember the name and I think I glanced at it, but it never stuck. I also remeber, honestly, not being super interested in Libby, though. Probably quite wrongly, I don’t think I saw that saga as intersecting with larger political subjects of interest. And yet … Marcy’s close-reading style is a helluva drug for those of us who like that kind of thing and I think I would have been hooked on the analytical virtuosity regardless of my naive indifference to Libby. Tis a minor mystery. I digress, obviously, hopefully not too excessively. Carry on.

  8. xyxyxyxy says:

    If he gets a heart attack between processing and appearance, what happens to today’s hearing and it will be interesting to see what Fox showmen/showwomen spew.
    If he doesn’t survive it, it will be really interesting to see what Fox showmen/showwomen spew.
    Will he have a state funeral?

      • punaise says:

        my mind kind of went near there when I misread “plead out” yesterday, but … no, not cool.

        • posaune says:

          Look, whatever the defendant’s psychological profile, one thing is indisputable: the guy is absolutely wired for survival whatever the cost.

          • xyxyxyxy says:

            Don’t forget he’s been on this earth 7-7 years.
            And per Brandi Buchman, “he walks out, each foot sort of plodding over the other heavily.”

  9. jdmckay8 says:

    Very timely, Marcy. I think sometimes you can get through to people with posts like this who, when you write detailed post with timeline/facts/law are inclined to fall asleep. (No idea what emoji would fit here).

    I have been reading about all this this morning, and something occurred to me as to why Smith left those 6 unindicted. It seems there are few good legal pundits who think Trump’s “free speach” argument will get any traction in court. Also seen speculation from at least 3 of these people this morning that, when confronted with charge he (Trump) was a conspirator in voting fraud, Trump’s only defense in court will only be Hail Mary’s. The Hail Mary I’ve seen suggested most: Trump will say “it was all the idea of LOSER Rudy (…)”.

    Or in other words, underbus Rudy. Trump always does this.

    Notion Smith left them unindicted, thinking when they see underbussing in real time, covering Trump’s butt will look a lot less appealing. I can almost hear Rudy thinking: “Now I know how Ruby felt”.

    I would like to see the day where Rudy is spare-changing on the front steps to Trump Tower.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Progress of Trump to his third arraignment – covered by the media as if it were a coronation – will be a damp squib. We pretty much won’t see him, unless he holds a post-arraignment press conference before he reboards his golden chariot/aircraft back to wherever he’s hiding these days.

    The media should, but won’t, reconsider giving a thrice indicted former govt employee millions in free publicity for his campaign. The political stakes are too bloody high.

    • Marinela says:

      Coverage without commercials, and they bring in Tim P. who is former lawyer for Trump that is now doing PR coverage for Trump. May as well bring in Trump campaign spox with commercial free coverage.
      And this was not Fox.

      It has to be a way to cover news without amplifying Trump’s lie.

      Not cool.

      • russell penner says:

        This is his campaign. And it’s working! He’s running neck to neck with one of the most economically successful presidents in history. Another Jill Stein or Ralph Nader, combined with the present 6/3 SC, and he’s back in office.

    • pdaly says:

      They could have at least, as a counterweight, added a musical interlude from Handel’s oratorio “Joshua”

      “Happy, oh, thrice happy we,
      Who enjoy sweet liberty!
      To your sons this gem secure,
      As bright, as ample, and as pure.”

      Normally sung by a soprano, the talented treble (now baritone) singer Aksel will more than do:

  11. FL Resister says:

    @Brandi_Buchman has a bird’s eye Twitter observation post for TFG’s third arraignment.
    She wrote he appeared to have weights on his feet and appeared off-square when he finally reached the table. Was doing incessant whispering last time I checked in.

  12. Bugboy321 says:

    He deserves the fiery pits of hell for #10, that guy and his Nixon tattoo have an expiration date from 50 years ago.

      • JVOJVOJVO says:

        lol – never heard this one but love it if it’s true – of course, I’d rephrase it that herpes got Nixon disease but that’s just me. ffs

  13. OldTulsaDude says:

    (To the tune of the hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy)

    Donny, Donny, Donny,
    We’ve finally caught you.
    No more escaping
    Your life is now is ruins

    You’re no longer president
    Here’s your new residence
    Leavenworth Prison
    Blessed enmity!

  14. BRUCE F COLE says:

    So regarding the last two paragraphs if Marcy’s post:

    Could the defence argue that for just that reason your story elucidates — that this court has had so many convictions either expunged or ameliorated by the defendant — that the court itself may well harbor prejudice against him?

    • Bruce F Cole says:

      And add to that: Trump’s promise to pardon J6 rioters.

      I hope Smith is preparing for this argument because it’s not frivolous.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      And one more point for the Devil’s Advocate position: 4 of the court’s judges were in the peanut gallery for the arraingment yesterday. I can see Trump’s lawyers making the argument that that was a demonstration of animus, as evidenced by their client’s extreme consternation upon learning of it, or some such.

      Wouldn’t it be rich to have those judges testify, as to their motivations for being at the arraignment, in a venue hearing?

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          You’re probably right that his legal team wouldn’t be so careless as to bring those judges into it, but as to venue arguments, I think the Prettyman pardon list and Trump’s promise to pardon J6ers if he wins is pretty potent court-prejudice-suggesting stuff that they’d be equally careless not to use. Would you agree?

          • JVOJVOJVO says:

            Every idea/argument has an audience at some level – Bruce just seems to be overly zealous in a singular direction. Why is that?!

            • BRUCE F COLE says:

              In the hopes that a more potent counter argument might be forthcoming from this site, rather than a lame ad-hominem.

              • bmaz says:

                We do not need your “help”, and you are close to being done. But, thanks “Bruce”. Don’t bring me down, Bruce. /s/ ELO

  15. Stewart Dean says:

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the jury was chosen from residents of D.C…that would be citizens of the US who have no representation in Congress deciding the fate of America’s democracy.

      • villiageidiocy says:

        You don’t have to be registered to vote to be selected for jury duty in DC. From the DC jury duty info website: “Master jury list shall consist of District of Columbia voters, persons who have obtained driver’s licenses or identification cards from the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, records provided by the D.C. Department of Tax and Revenue, and public assistance rolls; which shall be emptied and refilled at specified intervals, not exceeding 24 months.”
        I guarantee you there are lots of eligible DC residents who qualify as jurors and who do not have either knowledge or opinion about this case. The “DC” of political news is NOT the same as the working, living city on the Potomac.

  16. rosalind says:

    highly recommend searching Trump and Bedminster and Goats. a video just hit showing him returning to Bedminster only to be held up by his herd of Tax Avoiding Goats on the road. i’d wager he was inside the car raging at the driver “just run them over! now! now!”. the driver didn’t run them over, but waited for them to clear off the roadway. poetic.

  17. vinniegambone says:

    Based on what has been laid out here, hard to see anywhere fTrump or his cohorts can hide.

    Winning the case will be one thing ; healing the nation’s divide quite another.

  18. EuroTark says:

    According to Lawfare, the release conditions are the same as the MaL case: only communicate with witnesses through counsel, and don’t commit any new crimes.

    Given the crimes in question this time relate to The Big Lie, would continued fundraising based on said lie be considered a violation?

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Interesting question, especially since (AFAIK) the investigation into wire fraud by his Save America PAC for just that reason is ongoing. Maybe a set of charges in that case would, for that reason, be propitious right now!

  19. Rugger_9 says:

    Some of the other people are up to the usual TrumpOrg standards, including Lauro going on the RWNM tour to say Defendant only asked for a delay (which is a crime from the indictment IIRC). Apparently this admission against interest as an official defense representative can be used in court to blow up the defense.

    Habba admitted in the presser in DC that Defendant-1 did get told he lost before backpedaling to say he was told alternative opinions and he decided what was true in his mind. She’s merely a spokesperson in her current role (IIRC), leaving her free to falsely claim Biden and his son were bribed millions of dollars (how is that not defamatory and actionable even though these are public figures?) among other batcrap claims.

    One of the bobbleheads speculated these are trial balloons floated to determine what defense plan will resonate with jurors to create a holdout. If so, how long will Chutkan or the magistrate judge take to decide this is really tampering and remand Defendant-1 to custody until trial?

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