Tonight’s news that the DOJ busted a Trump White House bribery-for-pardon scheme has set off all kinds of questions about who might be involved. As always tends to happen with these things, the redactions themselves have ended up being a clue.
For instance, one redacted sentence refers to “_____’ clemency petition.” The name appears to be perhaps five or six letters long. Notably, unless it’s a typo, the apostrophe on the end gives away that this person’s name ends with the letter “S.” This has led some observers on Twitter to guess that it’s Lev Parnas. However, Parnas has publicly come out against Trump, and seemingly wouldn’t be seeking clemency. And in fact Parnas is now publicly calling for the criminal indictment of whoever was involved in the pardon scam. This would seem to rule him out.
It’s being reported that the judge in the case has had this court document since August of 2020, and decided to unseal it today. Various observers have pointed out that this potentially aligns with Trump’s most infamous commutation to date, that of Roger Stone, which took place in July of 2020. However, Stone’s name wouldn’t have a possessive apostrophe on the end of it. It’s possible the redacted name is actually that of the attorney who was seeking the clemency. But none of Stone’s trial lawyers have names that would end in a possessive apostrophe either. So this may rule Stone out.
As we go through the list and seemingly rule out all the big names we’ve all heard of, we’re tempted to conclude that this criminal case might well be someone who’s not well known in relation to Trump. In any case, regardless of who’s being criminally targeted in this scandal, it should help create a chilling effect when it comes to additional corrupt Trump pardons going forward. After all, everyone involved now knows that the Feds are watching.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report