Elliott Broidy is a former Donald Trump and Republican Party fundraiser, who is facing federal criminal conspiracy charges alleging he acted as a foreign agent to influence the U.S. government in exchange for millions of dollars.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Federal Agents Raided Broidy’s Los Angeles Office in 2018 With a Sealed Warrant Alleging Money Laundering & Illegal Laundering for Foreign Nationals
The nonprofit investigative outlet ProPublica obtained a sealed warrant against Broidy in 2019 that, they reported, alleged he was paid by Malaysian financier Jho Low to try and get the Department of Justice to ease off a bribery and money laundering case against him.
Federal agents raided his office using that warrant and were authorized to use Broidy’s fingerprints and face to unlock any of his phones they needed access to, ProPublica reported.
Broidy was also being investigated for allegedly trying to get Chinese dissident Guo Wengui extradited from the U.S. back to China, using his connections, The Post reported.
Broidy was deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee between 2017 and 2018, according to the court document, and also worked with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
“Broidy maintained access to, and contact with, high-ranking officials in the administration, including the president himself,” it read.
Prosecutors alleged that Broidy personally tried to influence both Trump and “the attorney general” — although it was unclear from the wording, whether that would be Trump’s former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, or Bill Barr, who serves currently.
2. According to Court Records, Broidy Now Has Charges Pending Against Him for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
The U.S. Justice Department has charged Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy with criminal conspiracy for acting as foreign agents and failing to register as required by law.
Read the DOJ's charging document: https://t.co/FEU6DvpFsP
— Andy Kroll (@AndyKroll) October 8, 2020
Although an indictment was not issued (see Fact 5), federal prosecutors did release a criminal information form indicating that Broidy was facing charges.
Between March 2017 and February 2018, according to the court document, Broidy worked with two people, one of whom was only identified as “Person A,” to act as foreign agents in exchange for “millions of dollars” and lobby the Trump administration and DOJ to drop or ease back on its case against Low for allegedly embezzling billions of dollars from Malaysian investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad — 1MDB.
The scheme was unsuccessful and the case continued, according to the document.
Broidy and the two others alleged lobbying for the extradition of Wengui back to China was also included in the criminal information document. Broidy pushed for meetings between a Chinese government official and U.S. officials as well, it read.
3. ‘Person A’ in the Charges Is Believed to Be Former Fugees Rapper Pras Michel
The criminal information sheet does not identify the person Broidy is alleged to have worked with, but does describe them as a “United States citizen, businessperson and entertainer with international ties to Foreign National A.”
The Post reported in September that numerous sources identified that person as Pras Michel, a former rapper with The Fugees.
“Foreign National A” in the document is believed to be Low, who the “businessperson and entertainer” is alleged to have been an associate of.
Mother Jones reported in December 2018 that Michel had pitched a four-page article to the magazine pushing for Wengui, the Chinese dissident’s, extradition to China.
“The question is why is the FBI protecting Guo Wengui—a Chinese illegal immigrant who lied on his US visa application for entry to the USA, is wanted for rape, kidnapping and a number of civil lawsuits in the millions of dollars, and has an Interpol red notice warrant out for his arrest?” Michel wrote in an email to the magazine, according to Mother Jones.
Michel’s attorney, Barry Pollack, told the magazine that Michel “has not done anything wrong and does not have information about any wrongdoing by others.”
4. Nickie Lum Davis, Who Is Also Implicated in the Charges, Pleaded Guilty in August to a Charge of Failing to Register as a Foreign Agent
Aug 20, 2020:
"In 1998, her father Gene Lum were [sic] sentenced to 10 months in jail for making illegal campaign contributions to Democratic candidates."
📷Nickie Mali Lum Davis by Ian Lindhttps://t.co/lzOf8WPf9w pic.twitter.com/Xd7VFNR6sw
— Arapaho415 (@arapaho415) September 1, 2020
Nickie Mali Lum Davis, a businesswoman and consultant with a relationship to Broidy and “Person A,” pleaded guilty in Hawaii District Court in August to one violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to the document.
Davis was also charged as part of the lobbying effort to have Wengui extradited to China, the Associated Press reported.
5. Broidy Could Be Preparing to Plead Guilty, Since a Criminal Information Sheet Was Released Instead of an Indictment
🚨 BREAKING: Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump and the RNC, has been charged as part of a wide-ranging federal probe into back-channel efforts to influence the Trump administration on behalf of foreign interestshttps://t.co/suJ60bTmws @davidvoreacos @CalebMelby pic.twitter.com/ugUF61O1wB
— David S. Joachim (@davidjoachim) October 8, 2020
Because prosecutors released a criminal information rather than an indictment, Broidy could be preparing to plead guilty, Bloomberg indicated in their report.
Criminal information is often released in lieu of an indictment when the person charged has waived the right to a grand jury proceeding, according to criminal defense firm Burnham & Gorokov.
“This happens most frequently where the defendant and the prosecutor have reached an agreement as to a guilty plea to a particular offense before an indictment was returned, or where the final plea is to an offense different than that originally charged in an indictment,” the attorneys wrote.
Attorney information for Broidy was not immediately available through the federal courts, but Heavy will update this story if he responds to the charges or a plea is announced.