Adelsons give major boost to defense fund for Trump aides caught in Russia probe

Mega GOP donors provide $500,000 to Patriot Legal Expenses Fund Trust to help with legal fees for those accused in Mueller investigation

Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson at the ceremony marking the establishment of a new Faculty of Medicine at Ariel University in the West Bank, on August 19, 2018. (Ben Dori/Flash90)
Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson at the ceremony marking the establishment of a new Faculty of Medicine at Ariel University in the West Bank, on August 19, 2018. (Ben Dori/Flash90)

Casino mogul and Jewish megadonor Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have donated $500,000 to a defense fund for associates of US President Donald Trump who are caught up in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian electoral interference.

According to figures released by the Inland Revenue Service, the Adelsons donated the cash to The Patriot Legal Expenses Fund Trust, which was set up to pay legal expenses for multiple individuals, US news outlets reported.

Although sizable donations have been made to the fund, the Adelson contribution is the largest to date.

The fund has not disclosed who will benefit from the financial largess of the fund, but the IRS filing lists payments to a number of law firms. The president and his immediate family cannot benefit from the defense fund.

This file photo taken on June 19, 2013 shows then FBI Director Robert Mueller arriving to testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on oversight during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

So far, Robert Mueller has charged 34 people, including several close to the president, as he looks into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation.

He has yet to accuse anyone close to the Trump campaign of conspiring with the Kremlin to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the 2016 presidential election.

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser and confidant, is the latest in Trump’s circle to face charges. The political operative is accused of lying to lawmakers, engaging in witness tampering and obstructing a congressional investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s campaign. He pleaded not guilty this week.

The Adelsons are major donors to the Republican Party and to Trump, giving his presidential campaign a $30 million boost in the final months of the 2016 race. The couple followed up by donating $100 million to the Republican Party for last November’s midterms.

US President Donald Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Miriam Adelson during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, November 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Trump last year awarded Miriam Adelson the nation’s highest civilian honor, presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Recognizing her medical and philanthropic work, the president lauded the Israel-born Adelson for funding substance abuse centers and pro-Israel projects, including Birthright.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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