The Crime That Sent Jared Kushner's Father To Prison

Parenting can be tough. Along with the stress of keeping your kids alive and being ridiculed in a '90s rap song, parents also serve as somewhat of a moral compass for their children. For better or worse, parents help shape the way kids perceive the differences between what's right and wrong, with their actions often speaking louder than words. Leading by example is easier said than done, however, as anyone who has heard or said, "Do as I say, not as I do!" will tell you. But, while everyone occasionally messes up, what happens to the kids whose parents engage in truly unsavory, and perhaps even criminal, behavior? For answers, look no further than Jared Kushner.

When it comes to infamous parents, Kushner is probably better known for his notorious father-in-law, ex-president Donald Trump. But, as it turns out, he has some intense family drama of his own, with his father even serving time for a variety of shocking crimes. 

So, how did Kushner's dad end up in prison? And what impact did it have on Jared?

Jared Kushner's father went to prison for a shocking crime

In 2005, when Jared Kushner was only 24 years old, his father, Charles Kushner, was sentenced to two years behind bars for multiple counts of "tax evasion, witness tampering, and illegal campaign donations," per The New York Times. While it may seem like standard "rich person" crimes, Forbes estimated the family to be worth around $1.8 billion in 2016 — but the actual details of the story are much, much messier.

When the elder Kushner was still under investigation, he discovered that his sister's husband was cooperating with the federal authorities behind his back. He then did what any normal person would do in the situation: hired a sex worker to seduce his brother-in-law, taped the encounter, and sent it to his sister to blackmail them into silence. Yep, totally normal stuff. In an almost as strange twist, the US attorney at the time was none other than Chris Christie, who labelled the case as one of the "most loathsome, disgusting crimes" he ever prosecuted.

Knowing your dad engaged in some shady dealings is bad enough, but having to hear that he committed such a soap opera-level misdeed against his own family must be devastating, to say the least. But, how did Jared take it?

How his father's crime impacted Jared Kushner's life

Many people would be ashamed, depressed, or just plain repulsed if their father behaved like Charles Kushner. Jared Kushner, on the other hand, seemed to react with anger — but not directed at his dad. In his memoir, Chris Christie wrote that Jared was still "seething" over the former US attorney's role in his father's imprisonment, even alleging that the younger Kushner was responsible for his abrupt dismissal from the 2016 White House transition team (via CNN). Perhaps a case of shifting the blame?

Above all, Jared appears to place a high importance on his family — ironic, given how his father treated his aunt. Speaking to The Guardian in 2008 he reflected that, "Things can be taken from you, whether it's money, status or freedom. But the things that can't be taken are the things that are most important to work to achieve, such as love and family and friendships." While he might have some unresolved issues regarding his dad, it does sound like the ordeal gave Jared some perspective about what he values in life.

Oh, and if you are wondering what happened to Charles, the world's worst brother was released from prison in 2006, before receiving a full pardon in 2020 from — you guessed it — then-President Donald Trump, his son's father-in-law (per NPR).