US President Donald Trump, as previously stated by The CEO Magazine, is emboldened after his impeachment acquittal, and he has now used his powers of clemency to give a full pardon to seven convicted criminals and to free four people, three of them women, from jail.
Here are the 11 people Trump has given a full pardon or commuted their sentences.
Lifelong Democrat Rod Blagojevich, who was the governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009, served more than eight years of a 14-year prison sentence for corruption. Blagojevich was found guilty of soliciting bribes for political appointments including attempting to sell the US Senate seat made vacant after Barack Obama’s election victory in 2008 sent him to the White House. Blagojevich, after he was impeached and removed from office, appeared on NBC’s The Apprentice, a reality TV show hosted by Donald Trump, who fired him.
“He served eight years in jail, a long time. He seems like a very nice person, don’t know him,” Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews, suggesting the television appeals of Blagojevich’s wife Patti helped cement his decision to commute his sentence, CNN reported.
Trump said he wanted Blagojevich to be able to see his family again, calling the sentence “ridiculous”.
Financier and philanthropist Michael Milken, a well-known figure on Wall Street as the head of the junk bonds department at the now-defunct firm Drexel Burnham Lambert, pleaded guilty in 1990 to racketeering and securities fraud charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the term later was reduced to two years because Milken cooperated with federal authorities in the investigation into insider trading. He also was fined US$600 million.
Trump’s full pardon does not change his lifetime ban in working in the securities industry.
“Since his release, Mr Milken has dedicated his life to philanthropy, continuing charitable work that he began before his indictment,” Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, explaining the full pardon.
Milken’s pardon was backed by high-profile figures in politics, media and finance, according to the White House. They included Sheldon Adelson, the casino owner and Republican donor; Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul; Elaine Chao, US transport secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell, the US Senate majority leader; David Rubenstein, chairman of The Carlyle Group; Sean Parker, the Facebook investor; and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney who headed the US attorney’s office in Manhattan when it investigated Milken.
Edward DeBartolo Jr
Here’s a property developer best known for his 23-year ownership of the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL) when the side won five Super Bowls. Edward DeBartolo Jr pleaded guilty in 1998 to failing to report a felony when he paid US$400,000 to Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards in exchange for a riverboat gambling license. DeBartolo Jr avoided a jail sentence through a plea deal. He served two years of probation and testified against Edwards.
Trump’s full pardon granted to DeBartolo Jr appears to stem from his bid to win California and Ohio in the 2020 presidential election. DeBartolo Jr is revered in Youngstown, Ohio.
NFL great Charles Haley spoke outside the White House with other football legends, praising the former San Francisco 49ers owner.
“We all make mistakes,” Haley said. “I know what he’s done … for the kids.”
He hailed the pardoned DeBartolo for his charitable work and for how he treated his players.
Jerry Rice, a 49er wide receiver, said Trump spoke to the group about DeBartolo’s quest to be “the greatest of all time”.
The White House said Bernard Kerik courageously led the New York Police Department’s heroic response to the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, as Commissioner of the New York Police Department.
He embodied the strength, courage, compassion, and spirit of the people of New York and this great nation as he served alongside first responders at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attack. In 2010, Kerik was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for tax fraud and for making false statements. Since his conviction, he has focused on improving the lives of others, including as a passionate advocate for criminal justice and prisoner re-entry reform.
His 30 years of law enforcement service and tenure as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction have given him a unique understanding and perspective on criminal justice and prisoner re-entry reform, and he remains an invaluable contributor to these endeavors. Mr. Kerik is the recipient of countless awards for meritorious and heroic service, including a Presidential Commendation for Heroism from President Ronald Reagan.
Among others, this pardon is supported by Rudy Giuliani (Trump’s Attorney), Judge Andrew Napolitano, Geraldo Rivera, Charlie Daniels, Chief Paul Cell, Judge Ray Reddin, Former Chief of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department John Comparetto, Representative Peter King, Christopher Ruddy, Chief and Mrs. Eddie Gallagher, and Sidney Powell.
David Safavian has dedicated his life to criminal justice reform after serving nearly a year in prison. Safavian was convicted of making false statements and of obstructing an investigation into a trip he took while he was a senior government official.
Having served time in prison and completed the process of rejoining society with a felony conviction, Safavian is uniquely positioned to identify problems with the criminal justice system and work to fix them. Safavian is a fierce advocate for policy changes that improve public safety, protect families and victims, and reduce recidivism, including the First Step Act, which provides prisoners with a second chance through rehabilitative programs, fair sentencing, and smart confinement.
The District of Columbia restored his license to practice law, and his pardon is supported by several prominent individuals, including Van Jones, Matt Schlapp, Mercedes Schlapp, Doug Deason, Mark Holden, Topeka Sam, Dan Schneider and Jessica Jackson.
CEOs given full pardons
The White House said Ariel Friedler was a successful entrepreneur, and built a successful technology company that employed more than 150 people and served more than 41 million students, staff, employers, and government constituents worldwide.
In 2014, while serving as President and CEO of the company, Friedler pleaded guilty to conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorisation and served two months in prison. As a result of this incident, he was forced to sell the company that he had dedicated his life to building.
During the investigation, his time in prison, and after his release, Friedler expressed deep remorse for his actions. Since his release, Friedler has volunteered his time and expertise to promoting veterans issues and helping former prisoners reenter and rejoin society. In recognition of his rehabilitation, the State of Florida restored his license to practice law. Among those who support this grant of clemency are former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Rabbi Katz of the Aleph Institute.
Paul Pogue was the owner of a successful construction company and made significant charitable contributions every year. An audit by the Internal Revenue Service discovered that Pogue had underpaid his taxes over a three-year period by approximately 10 percent. Immediately upon learning of the tax deficiency, Pogue paid restitution, interest, and penalties. To avoid the cost and burden of fighting the charges, which could have put at risk the jobs of the 150 people employed by his company, Pogue agreed to plead guilty and was sentenced to three years of probation.
Despite his conviction, Pogue never stopped his charitable work. For more than 30 years, he has provided significant humanitarian aid to countries around the world, including Africa, India, and Mexico, all while continuing to help his fellow Americans in times of need. Pogue is the founder of two non-profit organisations. One constructs churches, clinics, schools, and orphanages in developing countries.
The other provides disaster relief to communities in need. Following Hurricane Harvey, his charity provided critical support to Texans rebuilding their lives in the wake of the storm. In addition, Pogue’s non-profit flies medical teams into disaster areas and flies people in need of medical treatment to doctors and hospitals. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Mike Buster, Steve Dulin, Robert Morris, Jack Graham, and James Robison are among the many people who support this grant of clemency.
— Angela Stanton-King (@theangiestanton) November 8, 2019
— Angela Stanton-King (@theangiestanton) February 17, 2020
Angela Stanton, the White House state, overcame a difficult childhood to become a champion for redemption and rehabilitation for all who strive for a better life. In 2007, she served a six-month home confinement sentence for her role in a stolen vehicle ring. Today, Stanton is a national best-selling author, widely acclaimed television personality, and proponent of criminal justice reform. She works tirelessly to improve reentry outcomes for people returning to their communities upon release from prison, focusing on the critical role of families in the process. This pardon is supported by Alveda King.
— Angela Stanton-King (@theangiestanton) February 18, 2020
— Mr. Aye Dee (@MrAyeDee) February 18, 2020
Tynice Nichole Hall is a 36-year-old mother who has served nearly 14 years of an 18-year sentence for allowing her apartment to be used to distribute drugs. While in prison, Hall has completed a number of job-training programs and apprenticeships, as well as coursework towards a college degree. In addition, Hall has taught prison educational programs to other inmates. She has accepted responsibility for her past behaviour and has worked hard to rehabilitate herself. Among those who support this grant of clemency are Clemency for All Non-Violent Drug Offenders Foundation, Alice Johnson, Dan Schneider, Matt Whitaker, Adam Brandon, Kevin Roberts, Brett Tolman and John Hostettler.
Just found out the clemency petition of Crystal Munoz that Amy Cando and I were working on with Professor Amber Baylor and her students at Texas A&M was granted by President Trump. pic.twitter.com/h7Qg19pL1K
— jason hernandez (@jason121913) February 18, 2020
Crystal Munoz has spent the past 12 years in prison as a result of a conviction for having played a small role in a marijuana smuggling ring. During this time, she has mentored people working to better their lives, volunteered with a hospice program, and demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to rehabilitation. The Texas A&M Criminal Defense Clinic, the Clemency for All Non-Violent Drug Offenders Foundation, Dan Schneider, Matt Whitaker, Adam Brandon, Kevin Roberts, Brett Tolman, John Hostettler and Alice Johnson are among the many who support this grant of clemency.
Judith Negron. You have to read stuff like this before you judge people for the mistakes they may have done the past. 30% ownership in a company and the hammer lands on your head. Enjoy your freedom. https://t.co/0I74kfI53j
— Shannon Russell (@shanrussell) February 18, 2020
Judith Negron is a 48-year-old wife and mother who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her role as a minority-owner of a healthcare company engaged in a scheme to defraud the Federal Government. Negron has served eight years of her sentence and has spent this time working to improve her life and the lives of her fellow inmates. Her prison warden and her counsellor have written letters in support of clemency. According to her warden, Negron “has always shown herself to be a model inmate who works extremely well with others and has established a good working relationship with staff and inmates.” This grant of clemency is supported by the Clemency for All Non-Violent Drug Offenders Foundation, Dan Schneider, Matt Whitaker, Adam Brandon, Kevin Roberts, Brett Tolman, John Hostettler, and Alice Johnson, among others.