EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Biggs Accuses DOJ Of Undermining Presidential Clemencies

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Republican Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs sent a letter Friday to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to explain its decision to re-prosecute a case in which former President Donald Trump already granted clemency.

The Daily Caller first obtained the letter, which focuses on former nursing home owner Philip Esformes. The DOJ charged Esformes in 2016 with healthcare fraud, money laundering and bribery in a multi-count indictment, and in 2019 Esformes was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 2020, Trump commuted Esformes’ sentence to time served, based in part on the recommendations of former U.S. Attorneys General Edwin Meese and Michael Mukasey and former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson.

In the letter, Biggs states that during litigation, a federal magistrate found that the Justice Department prosecutors committed misconduct by reviewing over 70 boxes containing information covered by attorney-client privilege and then tried to cover it up. Biggs mentions that former Attorney General John Ashcroft described the DOJ’s behavior as “amongst the most abusive” he had seen.

“For years, the DOJ has unjustly and unlawfully targeted its political opponents,” Biggs told the Caller before sending the letter. “The Philip Esformes case highlights what most Americans already know: Our nation has a two-tier justice system and it does not serve the American people fairly. The DOJ is using the Esformes case as a trial case to set aside all clemencies granted by President Trump. This is a reckless move that is contrary to American history and further indicates how weaponized the DOJ has become.”

The Biden administration has announced its intention to prosecute Esformes for charges on which the jury did not reach final decisions. (RELATED: ‘Fundamentally Unjust’: Former AG Blasts Biden DOJ For Pursuing Retrial Of Trump Clemency Recipient)


(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

“Mr. Esformes has already served time and has been publicly humiliated. Re-prosecuting a case that has already been commuted by a former U.S. president is unprecedented and would set a dangerous path forward,” Biggs told the Caller. “In fact, a re-prosecution would permit virtually all presidential grants of clemency to be overturned—undermining this constitutional authority. Attorney General Garland cannot continue down this unprecedented path that can turn our nation into a Banana Republic. He must provide immediate answers to the questions found in my letter.”

American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Matt Schlapp defended Biggs’ letter and Esformes in a statement to the Caller.

“There is a growing alarm that Biden’s DOJ has become an arm of the DNC, focused on punishing political enemies in a corrupt misuse of their power,” Schlapp said. “Tragically this deviation from Constitutional parameters is undermining any step President Trump took as part of his legitimate Presidency including the Pardon power. We applaud Andy Biggs for seeing this politicized abuse of power at DOJ and for encouraging his colleagues to stop the AG’s attempt to normalize prosecutorial excess and to undermine legitimate decisions exercised by President Trump. We are looking forward to more members of Congress engaging on this outrageous effort to retry those who have been given a presidential commutation.”
“[The Conservative Political Action Conference] joins several former U.S. AG’s in saying that Mr. Esformes’s prosecution was rotten from the start and it is time for him to resume his American life without living in fear of being made an example of swamp hatred of the former president,” Schlapp added.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to the Caller’s inquiry about the letter.

Editor’s Note: After publication, a quote from Rep. Biggs was adjusted for accuracy.