‘Fundamentally Unjust’: Former AG Blasts Biden DOJ For Pursuing Retrial Of Trump Clemency Recipient

  • Post category:News / US News

  • Justice Department prosecutors have expressed intentions to prosecute former medical facility network owner Philip Esformes on hung charges after former President Donald Trump commuted his 20-year prison sentence to time served.
  • Attorney General John Ashcroft argued the prosecutorial misconduct in Esformes’ case “was amongst the most abusive” he has ever seen.
  • “Margaret Love, the U.S. pardon attorney from 1990 through 1997, found that ‘the best understanding’ of Mr. Trump’s clemency warrant ‘is that it was intended to end the government’s prosecution and imprisonment of Esformes,’” Ashcroft said.

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Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is condemning Justice Department (DOJ) prosecutors’ pursuit of a retrial of a man granted clemency by former President Donald Trump.

Former Florida medical facility network owner Philip Esformes received a 20-year prison sentence in 2019 after being convicted of 20 counts including conspiracy to defraud the United States, receiving and paying federal healthcare program kickbacks, money laundering, federal program bribery and obstruction of justice, with six charges being dismissed and the jury failing to reach a verdict on six others. After Esformes entered an appeal invoking prosecutorial misconduct, having been confined since his 2016 arrest, Trump commuted his prison sentence in December 2020 to time served without erasing his three-year supervised release term or remaining $5,530,207 restitution requirement, but DOJ prosecutors announced plans in April 2021 to try Esformes again on the hung charges, according to the Miami Herald,

A retrial on the hung counts would be “fundamentally unjust” and violate Trump‘s clemency order, Ashcroft told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“President Trump ordered Mr. Esformes to be released immediately without additional restrictions so he could be reunited with his family,” Ashcroft told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Indeed, Margaret Love, the U.S. pardon attorney from 1990 through 1997, found that ‘the best understanding’ of Mr. Trump’s clemency warrant ‘is that it was intended to end the government’s prosecution and imprisonment of Esformes.’”

Ashcroft and fellow former Attorneys General Edwin Meese, Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzalez all endorsedEsformes’ appeal before the clemency grant. Ashcroft claimed the prosecutorial misconduct in Esformes’ case “was amongst the most abusive” he has ever seen, based on a Magistrate Judge’s findings in a 9-day evidentiary hearing.

“The Magistrate Judge found that the prosecutors knowingly and repeatedly invaded Mr. Esformes’ privileged attorney‐client communications, and then used that confidential information against him,” Ashcroft told the DCNF. “The Magistrate Judge found that not only had the prosecutors ‘wholly disregarded all privilege concerns’ in taking and using Mr. Esformes’ privileged information, but that prosecutors tried to cover that up at the evidentiary hearing by creating a ‘new narrative’ that she found had ‘zero credibility.’ In fact, the Magistrate Judge characterized the prosecutors’ conduct as a ‘deplor[able]’ effort to ‘obfuscate’ the evidentiary record.”

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Esformes’ conviction appeal Jan. 6, without passing judgement regarding the six hung counts in his case. Esformes’ counsel announced in a Jan. 12 court filing that they would be seeking a rehearing and en banc review of the 11th Circuit Court’s decision.

Esformes has argued he is also protected against retrial on at least the first hung count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud by the Fifth Amendment‘s Double Jeopardy Clause, preventing trial for the same offense twice and the legal precedent against vindictive punishment, as that count indicted him for the same conduct as the conviction counts.

The House approved forming a Judiciary Committee Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Jan. 10.

“The Biden Administration has weaponized government against its political adversaries,” House Judiciary Committee Spokesperson Russell Dye told the DCNF. “Mr. Esformes’ case sadly looks like another example of them doing just that. We’re ready to get to work.”

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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