NEW YORK (CNN) -- Real estate developer and political fund-raiser Charles Kushner of Livingston, New Jersey, was charged by federal prosecutors Tuesday with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and interstate promotion of prostitution.
The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie for New Jersey.
In February 2003, Christie's office began investigating Kushner for alleged violation of federal tax and fraud statutes and for purported violation of federal campaign contribution laws.
According to the indictment, two of the cooperating witnesses in the investigation -- a married couple described as close relatives of Kushner -- provided information against him to federal investigators.
The indictment alleges that Kushner initiated "a scheme to orchestrate a covert videotaped seduction" of the cooperating male witness in an attempt to thwart the investigation.
The indictment says Kushner recruited two individuals to hire a woman to have sex with the male witness and later instructed them to mail the videotape to the man's wife, who was the other cooperating witness in the investigation.
Benjamin Brafman, Charles Kushner's attorney, called the charges "baseless."
"Charles Kushner is one of the most respected business leaders in the community and widely known as a very generous philanthropist," Brafman said in a statement.
"The charges filed today are entirely baseless. Mr. Kushner is confident that once the facts are fully disclosed in a courtroom he will be completely exonerated."
Appearing in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, Kushner was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet after posting posted $5 million bail, The Associated Press reported. He made no comment in court or outside the courthouse.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Kushner has made more than $1.4 million in individual contributions through his numerous real estate entities.
The FEC fined Kushner $508,900 last month for contributing money improperly to candidates in the names of his companies, the AP reported.
Kushner contributed to the campaigns of several prominent Democrats, including Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, according to FEC records.
According to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, Kushner has contributed $103,150 in his home state of New Jersey.
Kushner was a top fund-raiser for New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, a Democrat, said the governor's spokeswoman, Kathy Ellis. She had no comment on the charges.
In February 2003, Kushner withdrew as McGreevey's nominee to head the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owners of the World Trade Center, the AP reported.
At the time, Kushner was being targeted by lawsuits that alleged he used business funds improperly for political and personal reasons, the AP said.
Sorry, pope-had I seen your post, I would've added mine to it. Moderator, feel free to delete the other thread.
Kushner Accused of Using Call Girls to Obstruct Probe (Update1)
July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Charles Kushner, a New Jersey real estate developer and Democratic fund-raiser, was charged with hiring a call girl and two intermediaries to obstruct a federal investigation of him and his companies, prosecutors said.
Kushner, 50, hired the intermediaries and a New York City call girl for $25,000 to videotape her having sex with a cooperating witness in the probe, according to a news release by U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie in Newark, New Jersey.
Kushner, the chairman of Kushner Companies and the top donor to the 2001 campaign of New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey, ordered the videotape and still photographs sent to the witness's wife, who is also helping prosecutors, the release said.
``Kushner conspired with the intermediaries in the hiring of another call girl for the purpose of seducing and videotaping a second cooperating witness in the government's investigation,'' the release said. ``The second intended victim, however, refused the call girl's advances.''
Kushner, a resident of Livingston, New Jersey, surrendered this morning to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was charged with conspiracy, obstructing a federal investigation and interstate promotion of prostitution, the release said. His attorney, Al DeCotiis, didn't return a call seeking comment.
Christie scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. in Newark. Kushner will make an initial appearance in court at 3:30 p.m.
After McGreevey's election, Kushner was appointed to the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and was nominated to become the chairman. That nomination stalled after prosecutors began probing a former employee's claims in a civil suit that Kushner used his businesses to make improper political donations. Kushner resigned from the board in February 2003.
Kathy Ellis, McGreevey's communications director, said the governor's office won't comment until it sees the specific allegations listed in the complaint.
Last month, Kushner agreed to pay $508,900 to the Federal Election Commission to settle charges that he made improper donations to campaigns, including the 2000 presidential bid of Bill Bradley, a former New Jersey senator.
Kushner used 40 partnerships he controlled to make more than $500,000 in donations to candidates and political groups from 1997 through 2000, according to the commission.
Kushner recently joined U.S. Senator Jon S. Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat, in an unsuccessful bid to buy the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association.
To contact the reporter on this story: David Voreacos in U.S.
District Court in Newark, New Jersey [email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email], or Andrew Pratt in Trenton at [email]email@example.com[/email].
To contact the editor responsible of this story: Patrick Oster at [email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email].
Last Updated: July 13, 2004 13:28 EDT
But fellas, it's the witnesses own personal business. So what if the guy paid prostitutes to persuade witnesses to lie in court. Everyone lies in court -- or so we're told. And getting bent out of shape about the use of prostitutes -- that so 1600's/sSalem witch trials.
Besides, he's a democrat -- the standard is totally different.
At least an oil tanker doesn't have the same name as his national security advisor. Now there's a serious matter to be investigated!