‘I Owe My Life to the President’: Donald Trump Pardons Attorney George Gilmore
“Helping erase his wrongful conviction was one of the highlights of our professional lives,” Gilmore’s counsel said.
JAN 20, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 25, 2021
President Donald Trump has issued a full pardon to George Gilmore, the former GOP bigwig and law firm managing partner who was facing prison on tax evasion and mortgage fraud convictions.
The White House, in announcing Gilmore’s pardon, cites Gilmore’s “important civic contributions over his career in New Jersey” as well as the support the pardon received from Bill Stepien, the campaign manager of Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, and former Gov. Chris Christie, among others.
The outgoing president’s decision saves Gilmore, 71, from having to serve a one-year jail term. Gilmore was on bail pending an application before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit of an en banc rehearing of the court’s December 2020 ruling upholding his conviction.
Gilmore was convicted in April 2019 on two counts of failing to pay the Internal Revenue Service payroll tax deductions withheld from employees of his law firm and one count of making false statements on a mortgage application.
In addition to Stepien, a New Jersey native and Republican political consultant, and Christie, the White House named a list of others who supported the pardon of Gilmore: former Govs. James McGreevey and James Florio; former acting Govs. Donald DiFrancesco and John Bennett; former Lt. Gov. Kimberly Guadagno; as well as Thomas MacArthur, Gerald Cardinale, Michael Testa Jr., David Avella, Joseph Buckelew, Lawrence Bathgate II, Larry Weitzner and Adam Geller.
Gilmore’s lawyer in the criminal case, Kevin Marino of Marino, Tortorella & Boyle, also helped him obtain the pardon, Gilmore said in a statement.
“Words cannot express my gratitude and humility at being granted a full pardon by the president of the United States. When it came to his attention, President Trump recognized the injustice of my conviction and used the power of his office to right that wrong,” Gilmore said. “I owe my life to the president, to Bill Stepien, and to Kevin Marino and his partners at Marino, Tortorella & Boyle, who worked relentlessly to achieve this just result.”
Marino said in a statement that the prosecution of Gilmore “should have never been brought. For my partners and me, fighting for George Gilmore was a singular honor. Helping erase his wrongful conviction was one of the highlights of our professional lives.”
Gilmore received a mixed verdict following a 2 1/2-week trial before U.S. District Senior Judge Anne Thompson of the District of New Jersey in Trenton in April 2019.
Besides his conviction for failing to submit payroll tax to the IRS and making false statements on a mortgage application, he was acquitted on two counts of filing false tax returns and one count of tax evasion.
Marino said in court papers that he obtained an expert report finding that Gilmore met the criteria for hoarding disorder, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.
Gilmore was an equity partner at Gilmore & Monahan, a law firm in Toms River. There, he was responsible for the firm’s financial affairs, including withholding payroll taxes from the gross salary and wages of the law firm’s employees to cover individual income, Social Security and Medicare tax obligations.
For the first and second quarters of 2016, the firm withheld taxes from its employees’ checks, but Gilmore failed to pay in full the payroll taxes due to the IRS, according to prosecutors.
After he was convicted, Gilmore resigned from his position as Ocean County Republican Organization chairman.
He also resigned from his position as chair of the Ocean County Board of Elections after New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said he would seek to force Gilmore to forfeit that position.