Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes” he prosecuted more than a decade ago when he was a US attorney was committed by the father of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner.
Christie, who chaired Trump’s transition team for a short time, has recently been drawing attention to his relationship with Kushner and his father, the real estate developer Charles Kushner, while promoting his new book, “Let Me Finish.”
According to excerpts of the book reported on by Axios and The Guardian, Christie claims that the younger Kushner was behind his departure from Trump’s inner circle after the 2016 election, writing that he was “still apparently seething over events that had occurred a decade ago.”
In an interview with PBS’s Margaret Hoover on “Firing Line” released Tuesday, Christie unloads on the senior Kushner for the crimes that he prosecuted him for.
“Would you separate your experience – if your father had been put in jail – from the prosecutor who put him in jail?” Hoover asked.
“If my father is guilty, I would. Mr. Kushner pled guilty. He admitted the crimes,” Christie said. “And so what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor? I mean If a guy hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, and videotapes it, and then sends the videotape to his sister to attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a grand jury, do I really need any more justification than that?”
“I mean it’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted when I was US attorney. And I was a US attorney in New Jersey, Margaret, so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there.”
Christie was referring to an elaborate revenge plot that the older Kushner hatched in 2003 in order to target his his brother-in-law, William Schulder, a former employee turned witness for federal prosecutors in their case against Kushner, who was under investigation at the time for making illegal campaign contributions.
As a part of the plot, Kushner hired a prostitute to lure Schulder into having sex in a Bridgewater, New Jersey, motel room as a hidden camera rolled. A tape of the encounter was then sent to Kushner’s sister and Schulder’s wife, Esther.
Ultimately, the intimidation stunt failed. The Schulders brought the video to prosecutors, who tracked down the call girl and threatened her with arrest. She promptly turned on Kushner.
In a plea deal negotiated by Christie, Kushner pleaded guilty to 16 counts of tax evasion, one count of retaliating against a federal witness – his brother-in-law – and another count of lying to the Federal Election Commission.
CNN’s Sophie Tatum and Gregory Krieg contributed to this report.