Hawaii woman at center of Trump-era influence peddling scheme sentenced to prison

Nickie Lum Davis also agreed to pay the government 3-million-dollars in restitution.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:32 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:36 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Saying she lacked remorse and took no responsibility for her actions, a federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a Kahala woman to two years in prison for her role in a Trump-era influence peddling scheme.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi also fined Nickie Lum Davis $250,000 and ordered her to complete three years of supervised release. Davis, a Punahou School graduate, also agreed to pay $3 million in restitution to the government.

Political watchdogs said the sentence was appropriate.

“She was used to running in those political circles and was trying to use her influence to make money for herself and to get government decisions favorable to her clients,” said investigative reporter and blogger Ian Lind.

“We’re talking big time, international activities that trample on a number of different laws. "

Court documents show that Davis and her former partner ― ex-Republican National Committee official Elliott Broidy ― attempted to arrange meetings between officials in President Donald Trump’s administration and supporters of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Razak was arrested in 2018 and was later sentenced to 12 years in prison for the theft of $4.5 billion in the country’s 1MDB scandal.

The meetings were intended to quash the U.S. government’s kleptocracy investigation of Razak.

“It was a very serious offense involving a billionaire at large, trying to keep the government from tracking down his stolen money and pursuing it in U.S. courts,” said Lind.

Davis also admitted she worked on behalf of the People’s Republic of China in its campaign to extradite billionaire and dissident Guo Wengui.

Davis and her lawyers declined comment as they left federal court Wednesday.

But in her court pleadings, she said her cooperation with the federal government netted influence peddling convictions against her former partner Broidy.

Broidy was later pardoned by Trump.

Davis also claimed she helped secure the release of American hostages being held in China.

“I thought I could really do something great for the country by bringing home three American hostages, instead, I was painted as an agent of China,” she wrote.

“I have always considered myself a true American patriot.”

John Keller, of the U.S. Justice Department’s public integrity section, said in court on Wednesday that Davis was paid about $10 million by Razak’s supporters and the Chinese government.

“This scheme was always about money. It was not about patriotism,” he said.

As part of her $3 million restitution deal with the federal government, Davis agreed to pay $10,000 a month to the government.

In her court papers, she said she is in the process of selling her Kahala home for $7.5 million and that her family’s expenses are about $59,000 a month.

Davis must surrender to federal authorities on April 14 at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif.