Seven months ago all the usual suspects on the left were very excited about this story. Trump gave a $25,000 donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013 and later she decided not to pursue an investigation of Trump University. A lawyer in Boston named J. Whitfield Larrabee filed a complaint last year alleging the donation was a bribe. Amira Fox, chief assistant attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit, reviewed the claim and found it lacked anything approaching evidence. From the Associated Press:
Amira Fox, the chief assistant state attorney, said in a memo about the case that the complaint against Bondi was “insufficient on its face to conduct a criminal investigation” and was based almost entirely on media coverage.
“The majority of the complaint consists of insinuation without any material evidence in support,” Fox wrote.
Fox added that although a campaign contribution could be viewed as a type of bribe, there was no evidence that Bondi asked for the money in exchange for any official act.
The Orlando Sentinel has more on Fox’s conclusion, including the fact that even if there had been evidence the complaint would have been past the statute of limitations:
Fox’s report notes that Larrabee has no ties to Florida, no first-hand knowledge of the alleged bribe and that the complaint was made last year – three years after the donation was made and during the middle of Trump’s presidential campaign and ongoing New York lawsuit. After Trump won the election, he settled with customers in the New York case for $25 million.
Fox also states there wasn’t probable cause to charge Trump with a bribery, and even if there were, the three-year statute of limitations would prevent prosecution.
Trump did get into trouble with the donation because it was made from a charitable institution to a political campaign, which is a violation of campaign laws. Trump paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS for the mistake and reimbursed the funds to the charity. But it sounds like the rest of this claim had no chance despite the fact that the media, especially on the left, spent a lot of time talking about it last year. Here’s a clip of news snippets that was put together by David Brock’s Correct the Record to hype the story:
Hillary herself said she was “taken aback” by it last September: