“This was his thing,” Bradley Diller said. “I don’t know what the history of his relationship with Hugh Baras was, why he felt this kind of personal obligation, but he was making a kind of huge effort to help out this person.”
While Sanford Diller had trained as a lawyer, he was not practicing and did not appear in court filings as working on Mr. Baras’s behalf.
Bradley Diller said that he did not know about his father’s relationship with Mr. Broidy or Mr. Lowell, and that his father never discussed enlisting their help — or anyone’s — in trying to obtain a pardon for Mr. Baras.
“I doubt my father would do something like that,” he said, adding that, based on their discussions, he believed his father “was just trying to help him on the up and up through legal means.”
Sanford Diller knew Mr. Broidy through Republican Jewish donor circles, according to a person familiar with their relationship. Both donated to conservative and hawkish foreign policy groups, including the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
While Mr. Diller gave $333,800 to Republican Party committees in 2016, most of which went to the Republican National Committee’s convention and building headquarters accounts, there is no record of a direct donation from him to Mr. Trump’s campaign. With the exception of $23,400 in donations to Republican congressional candidates in 2014, Mr. Diller did not have a lengthy track record of Republican giving before that.
Mr. Broidy, a California businessman who owns a defense contracting firm based in Virginia, had helped raise money for Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, and after the election, he became a top fund-raising official for Mr. Trump’s inauguration and the Republican National Committee, as well as a member of Mr. Trump’s private South Florida club, Mar-a-Lago.