Politics

Judge Jeanine lobbied Trump during his last few hours in office to pardon her ex-husband. It worked.


Pirro was upset that her ex-husband Albert J. Pirro Jr. wasn’t on Trump’s final pardon list that came out early Wednesday morning, and that message was conveyed to the White House and its former resident, according to a former White House adviser. Albert Pirro was convicted on conspiracy and tax evasion charges after improperly deducting $1.2 million of his personal expenses in business write-offs.

A separate source familiar with the matter tells CNN that Albert Pirro was not on the pardon radar before Wednesday morning. It wasn’t until midmorning that day that aides, who were in the middle of off-boarding their duties to the new administration, were told it needed to be done.

The order came as a total surprise and had aides scrambling to make it happen before the noon ET deadline, when Trump’s term came to an end.

Minutes after Trump landed in Florida following his final flight aboard Air Force One from Washington, now-former deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere released a statement announcing that “Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a full pardon to Albert J. Pirro, Jr.”

Pirro joins a whole host of individuals who received last-minute pardons and commutations early Wednesday from Trump, including his onetime political strategist Steve Bannon, former top fundraiser Elliott Broidy and well-known rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black — but not Trump himself or his family. The list reflected a President keen on awarding pardons to his stalwart allies, an unusual number of whom have been swept up in corruption or lying charges.

Irena Briganti, Fox News’ executive vice president for corporate communications, did not respond to a request for comment.

Jeanine Pirro, one of Fox News’ highest-rated weekend hosts, is well known for her vehement defenses of Trump and attacks against his perceived enemies. She attended his annual New Year’s Eve party last month.
Trump, in turn, had the TV host’s back in 2019 when he called on Fox News to “bring back” Pirro after she was suspended by the network following her widely criticized commentary doubting the patriotism of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, a source familiar with the matter told CNN at the time.
“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”

Pirro targeted Omar — one of the few Muslim members of Congress — by noting the Minnesotan’s religious head covering.

“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Her remarks prompted Fox to say, “We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments” and that the views she expressed “do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

CNN’s Brian Stelter, Betsy Klein, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.


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