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Who has President Trump pardoned? Allies, supporters and inspirational figures

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.(Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images/TNS)

Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has pardoned 29 people. As he serves the final days of his term, that list is expected to grow.

Presidents have broad clemency powers granted by the Constitution. They can grant full pardons — a full legal forgiveness for a crime — and commute, or shorten, prison sentences. Trump has commuted 16 sentences.

As of Dec. 3, Trump had granted pardoned or granted clemency to allies such as former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and campaign aide Roger Stone and high-profile figures, such as former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. His first pardon was to Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who was an early supporter of Trump’s candidacy. Others involved people whose cases were taken up by activists who considered the sentences unduly harsh. And some had celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian West, lobbying on their behalf.

Here’s a look at the pardons Trump has granted:

Michael Flynn

Flynn, who served more than three weeks as Trump’s top security adviser at the White House, pleaded guilty three years ago to lying about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Awaiting sentencing, he sought to withdraw his plea by claiming he was entrapped by federal investigators. That move was followed early this year by the Justice Department’s decision to abandon the prosecution, prompting a federal judge’s challenge.

Flynn was awaiting a ruling in the case by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan when Trump issued the pardon in November.

Alice Marie Johnson

Johnson was convicted in 1996 of five counts of drug trafficking and one count of money laundering and sentenced to life in prison — despite the fact that it was her first offense.

President Barack Obama denied her clemency request in 2017. A long list of officials — Congress members, the U.S. attorney and even the warden at her prison — asked the pardon attorney to reconsider.

Kardashian West lobbied Trump on Johnson’s behalf, and Trump commuted her life sentence in 2018. She was then pardoned by the president in August.

Jon Donyae Ponder

While serving a 63-month sentence for bank robbery, Ponder became a Christian and devoted himself to helping other prisoners. After his release, he founded Hope For Prisoners, a Las Vegas-based organization that helps ex-prisoners re-enter society. The group has partnered with the Las Vegas Police Department to help thousands of former inmates.

The president called Ponder’s life “a beautiful testament to the power of redemption” when announcing his pardon in August.

Ponder also was pardoned by the state of Nevada.

Susan B. Anthony

Anthony, one of the leading figures in the movement to secure voting rights for women, was arrested for voting in Rochester, New York, in 1872, violating the laws that said only men could vote. She was convicted the following year.

Trump granted her posthumous pardon on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment in August.

Edward DeBartolo Jr.

DeBartolo, a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, was fined $1 million as part of a gambling fraud case in Louisiana in the late 1990s.He was pardoned by Trump in February.

DeBartolo testified that he paid then Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards $400,000 in exchange for his help in securing a riverboat casino license. DeBartolo pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to report a felony.

Bernard Kerik

Kerik, the former New York Police Department commissioner who was hailed alongside then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the response to the 9/11 attacks, was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to felony charges of tax fraud and lying to White House officials while being interviewed to head the Department of Homeland Security.

He served three years in federal prison before he was released in 2013, later becoming an advocate for prison reform, and a recurring advocate for Trump on Fox News. He was pardoned by the president in February.

The White House said in a statement that since Kerik’s conviction, “he has focused on improving the lives of others, including as a passionate advocate for criminal justice and prisoner re-entry reform.”

Paul Pogue

Pogue, the owner of a construction company near Dallas, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison in 2010 for filing a false federal tax return. Authorities said Pogue under-reported his income on his tax returns for three years. The fraudulent returns cost taxpayers a loss of $473,680, according to court records. Besides the prison sentence, Pogue was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and more than $473,000 in restitution.

Pogue’s family has made campaign contributions to Republicans, including Trump’s re-election campaign. Pogue Construction is now run by Ben Pogue, Paul Pogue’s son, who donated $85,000 last year to Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee for the president’s reelection campaign and Republican National Committee. Ben Pogue also maxed out to the Trump presidential campaign, giving $5,600 in August 2019.

He was pardoned by the president in February.

Michael Milken

Milken, a rogue financier known as the “junk bond king,” pleaded guilty in 1990 to several counts of securities and tax violations.

In the announcement of his pardon in February, the White House described Milken as “one of America’s greatest financiers” and credited his work fighting prostate cancer.

David Safavian

Safavian, former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, was sentenced to a year in prison for lying about his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Safavian was convicted in 2009 for obstruction of justice and making false statements to authorities investigating Abramoff’s activities. Prosecutors said Safavian lied to conceal his efforts to help Abramoff in his dealings with the government.

According to testimony during his trial, Safavian assisted Abramoff in connection with the lobbyist’s attempts to acquire GSA-controlled properties, and Abramoff took him on a luxury golf trip to Scotland and London. Safavian made false statements to conceal that, around the time of the golf trip, he aided Abramoff with business before the agency, prosecutors said.

He was pardoned in February.

Ariel Friedler

Friedler, the founder and chief executive of an Arlington, Va.,-based software company, pleaded guilty in 2014 and served two months in prison for conspiring to hack into the computer systems of two competitors. Friedler’s company, Symplicity Corp., was a government contractor that provided provided student disciplinary records management services to colleges and universities.

According to court records, Friedler conspired with two other Symplicity employees between 2007 and 2011 to hack into the computer systems of two competing companies. Friedler and others decrypted account passwords of former customers. Fiedler was forced to sell the company as a result of his guilty plea.

He was pardoned by Trump in February of 2020.

Angela Stanton

Stanton is an author, reality TV star and prison-reform activist who serveda six-month home confinement sentence for her part in a stolen car ring.

An avid Trump supporter and the goddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.’s politically conservative niece Alveda King, she spoke at the 2018 Women for Trump Conference and frequently posts pro-Trump messages on her Twitter account.

Trump pardoned her in February.

Clint Lorance

Lorance, an Army 1st lieutenant, was convicted in 2013 of second-degree murder after ordering soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men, two of whom died. He was serving a 19-year sentence when he was pardoned in November 2019.

Mathew Golsteyn

Golsteyn was charged with executing a man in 2010 who was suspected of being a Taliban bombmaker who had been ordered to be released after an interrogation.

Golsteyn said he shot the man because he was certain his bomb-making would “continue to threaten American troops and their Afghan partners,” the White House said.

In a 2018 tweet, Trump described Golsteyn as a “U.S. military hero.” He was pardoned in November 2019.

Zay Jeffries

Jeffries was convicted of conspiracy to commit treason for anticompetitive conduct. A leading American scientist, he continued his work after he was indicted in 1941. His work helped the U.S. develop shells that could pierce German tanks. He also contributed to the Manhattan project. He received a posthumous pardon in October 2019.

Rodney M. Takumi

Takumi received a pardon in July of 2019 for a conviction over a 1987 arrest from working at an illegal gambling parlor.

Chalmer Lee Williams

Williams stole at least 20 firearms and 16 boxes of computers in 1995 with the help of partner Christopher Glacken from checked luggage at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. He was convicted of theft and the sale of the weapons. He was pardoned in July 2019.

John Richard Bubala

Bubala, who pleaded guilty in 1990 to illegally transferring federal government automotive equipment to Milltown, Indiana, was praised in a White House statement for his reform when he was pardoned in July 2019.

“His primary aim was to help the town, and he sought neither compensation nor recognition for his actions,” the statement said of Bubala, while also praising him for his volunteer work.

Roy Wayne McKeever

McKeever was convicted of using a telephone to distribute marijuana in 1989.

In July 2019, when McKeever was pardoned by Trump, the White House said: “He has spent the past 29 years of his life atoning for his offense through charitable works in his community.”

Michael Anthony Tedesco

Tedesco was pardoned by Obama in 2017, but because of a clerical error, his pardon for a fraud conviction was not official until Trump corrected the issue in July 2019, according to the White House.

Conrad Moffat Black

Trump granted a pardon to Black, a former conservative newspaper mogul who spent 3 1/2 years in jail in on a 2007 fraud conviction that was ultimately reviewed by the Supreme Court. The White House described Black as an “entrepreneur and scholar” who “has made tremendous contributions to business.”

Black has also been an outspoken Trump supporter and wrote a book about the president the year before the pardon.

Patrick James Nolan

Nolan, director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform, was pardoned by Trump in May 2019.

A former state lawmaker in California, Nolan was convicted of accepting illegal campaign contributions in 1994 and was sentenced to 33 months in prison.

Nolan was an instrumental voice supporting the bipartisan criminal justice legislation Trump signed into law in 2018.

Michael Chase Behenna

Trump pardoned Behenna, a former Army first lieutenant, who was convicted of killing an Iraqi prisoner, in May 2019.

Behenna was sentenced to 15 years in 2009 for killing Ali Mansur Mohamed, a suspected al Qaeda operative who was stripped naked for questioning before being shot.

Dwight and Steven Hammond

In July 2018, Trump pardoned father-and-son cattle ranchers serving prison time for arson, a case that helped inspire the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in 2016.

The two were convicted of starting two fires in 2001 and 2006 that damaged federal lands. The White House said the evidence against them was “conflicting” and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.

The Hammonds were initially given sentences of three months to a year. Trump blamed the Obama administration for filing an “overzealous appeal” because the judge’s sentence was too lenient under federal sentencing guidelines. That appeal sent the Hammonds back to prison.

Dinesh D’Souza

D’Souza, a prominent conservative filmmaker and pundit, pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance law in 2014. President Donald Trump pardoned D’Souza after sharing a plane flight with him in 2018.

John Arthur Johnson

Trump granted a rare and historic posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson in May 2018, 72 years after his death, clearing the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion of racially motivated charges resulting from his relationships with white women in 1912.

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby

Trump pardoned Libby, the George W. Bush administration aide convicted of lying to the FBI in an investigation into a leak of the identity of a covert CIA agent, in April 2018.

Libby was the chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby had became a key figure in what became known as the Valerie Plame affair.

Kristian Mark Saucier

Saucier, a former Navy submariner who was convicted in a federal court in Connecticut of taking pictures of a nuclear propulsion system and keeping them on his phone, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2016, during the height of the presidential campaign.

Trump took note of the case, citing Saucier as evidence that Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of State, should be jailed for mishandling classified information on a home email server set up to circumvent public records laws.

Trump pardoned Saucier in March 2018.

Joe Arpaio

Arpaio, an Arizona sheriff known for his brutal treatment of undocumented immigrants, was held in contempt of court for refusing to end the practice of “immigrant roundups.”

Before Arpaio was sentenced, Trump issued a full pardon of Arpaio, one of candidate-Trump’s earliest supporters, on August 25, 2017.

The lower court has refused to throw out Arpaio’s conviction, and he remains in ongoing legal disputes. The Supreme Court refused to hear his most recent case.


(c) 2020 USA Today

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