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Here Are The Southern Californians Who Received Last-Minute Pardons From Trump

Marine One with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump aboard departs the White House on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
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President Trump granted pardons or commutations to 143 people in the final hours of his presidency, including several people from Southern California.

Here's what we know about them:

Former Republican National Committee Deputy Finance Chairman — and Beverly Hills resident — Elliott Broidy was one of President Trump's top fundraisers in 2016. Broidy pleaded guilty in October to acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Federal investigators say he lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of a fugitive financier from Malaysia. The White House said Broidy's pardon was backed by Republican California congressmen Devin Nunes and Ken Calvert and cited his "numerous philanthropic efforts, including on behalf of law enforcement, the military and veterans programs, and the Jewish community."

Doctor Faustino Bernadett was sentenced last January to 15 months in federal prison for his role in a kickback scheme at Long Beach Pacific Hospital, which he owned. Investigators say Bernadett authorized sham contracts that hid more than $30 million in illegal kickback payments to physicians who steered spinal surgeries to the hospital. That led to more than $900 million in fraudulent bills, mostly submitted to California's worker comp system. The scheme was already underway when Bernadett bought the hospital, but when he found out about it, he kept it going. He pleaded guilty to concealing a felony. The White House says Bernardett has spent the past year helping hospitals and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Former San Diego Republican Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham represented California's 50th District. Cunningham was a former fighter pilot who pleaded guilty to accepting more than $2 million in bribes while he was in office. Investigators say he used his positions on the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees to get those kickbacks. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. The White House cited Cunningham's military record, and work tutoring other inmates, in granting the conditional pardon.

Miami developer Robert "Bob" Zangrillo was charged in connection with the "Varsity Blues" admissions scandal at USC. Federal prosecutors say he worked with Newport Beach consultant Rick Singer to get his daugher into USC as a fake rowing recruit. In granting the full pardon, the White House said, "his daughter did not have others take standardized tests for her and is currently earning a 3.9 GPA at the University of Southern California. Mr. Zangrillo is a well-respected business leader and philanthropist."


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