Friday, February 21, 2020

On Tuesday, United States President Donald Trump issued a series of seven pardons and four commutations. All of the pardons issued were “full and unconditional”. The commutations included, among others, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois; Trump is a Republican.

Rod Blagojevich was jailed for corruption after he tried to sell Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat after Obama was elected president, among other charges. He was sentenced to fourteen years in prison, serving eight before being granted clemency. According to CNN, multiple officials pressured Trump not to commute Blagojevich’s sentence, including Republican members of the House of Representatives Darin LaHood and Mike Bost.

Judith Negron was convicted of both health care fraud and conspiracy to commit the same, money laundering and conspiracy to commit the same, and multiple other crimes. Negron served eight years of a thirty-five year sentence before being granted clemency.

Crystal Munoz was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more kilograms of marijuana in 2008 in the Western District of Texas, and was sentenced to serve 188 months (15 years, 8 months) in prison. Her sentence was commuted after serving twelve years.

Tynice Nichole Hall was convicted of multiple drug violations, as well as related charges involving possession of a firearm, in 2006 in the Northern District of Texas. She was granted clemency after serving almost fourteen years of an eighteen-year prison sentence.

Trump granted Angela Ronae Stanton a full and unconditional pardon. Stanton was convicted of conspiracy to transport in interstate commerce a stolen motor vehicle and tampering with a vehicle identification number in 2007 in the Northern District of Georgia.

Trump granted Ariel Manuel Friedler a full and unconditional pardon. Friedler, formerly the president and chief executive officer of Virginia-based Symplicity Corporation, pled guilty to conspiring to hack into the computer systems of two competitors to improve his company’s software development and sales strategy. He was sentenced to two months in prison in the Eastern District of Virginia in 2014.

Trump granted David Hossein Safavian, formerly the General Services Administration’s chief of staff, a full and unconditional pardon. Safavian was charged with making false statements (perjury) and obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation into the activities of former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He was convicted in 2006. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated his conviction and ordered a new trial, where in 2008 he was again found guilty.

In 1990, Michael Robert Milken pled guilty to charges related to his time as bond department head at Drexel Burnham Lambert, an investment bank. The charges included securities fraud, mail fraud, and tax fraud. Trump granted Milken a full and unconditional pardon.

Trump granted Paul Harvey Pogue a full and unconditional pardon. Pogue, the founder of Pogue Construction, was convicted of submitting a false tax return in 2010 in the Eastern District of Texas. Pogue’s cause was reportedly helped by Rick Santorum, who mentioned Pogue’s conviction to Trump.

Trump granted Bernard Bailey Kerik a full and unconditional pardon. Kerik, a former commissioner of the New York police, was convicted of making false statements (perjury) and obstructing the administration of the Internal Revenue Laws, among other crimes, in 2010 in the Southern District of New York.

Trump granted Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. a full and unconditional pardon. DeBartolo, who used to own the San Francisco 49ers football team, was convicted of misprision (concealment) of a felony in 1998 in the Middle District of Louisiana.