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Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fuels Market to Buy Access to Trump

  • January 17, 2021

Mr. Hutchinson said the $10,000 was only for lobbying and acknowledged Mr. Tolman may have performed legal services not reflected in the disclosure. While Mr. Hutchinson said he was happy with Mr. Tolman, he added, “There is a lot of people deserving of mercy, and I hope the president has a wide net in his approach to pardons and clemency.”

Mr. Tolman, who did not respond to requests for comment, is a former United States attorney in Utah appointed by President George W. Bush. He was a leading supporter of legislation overhauling sentencing laws championed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner and was invited to the White House signing ceremony in December 2018. Since then, Mr. Tolman has emerged as a prominent advocate for clemency requests, with his firm’s website highlighting a White House statement crediting him with helping secure pardons or commutations for three people, including Mr. Kushner’s father, a wealthy real estate developer who was convicted of tax evasion, witness tampering and campaign finance violations.

The White House has also credited Mr. Tolman with helping less well-connected offenders win clemency. There are no public records indicating Mr. Tolman was paid for those efforts, and Mr. Tolman wrote on Twitter on Friday that he has “represented many to get clemency. Some have been paying clients, many have been pro bono. I’m proud of my team’s clemency work.”

He filed paperwork this month indicating he was paid $20,000 in the last three months of last year to seek a commutation for Dina Wein Reis, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ms. Reis, who was released from prison in 2014, did not respond to requests for comment.

A filing this month revealed that Mr. Tolman was paid $22,500 by an Arizona man named Brian Anderson who had retained him in September to seek clemency for Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road founder. Mr. Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and distributing narcotics on the internet.

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