Trump announces pardons for several high-profile individuals

·3 min read

President Donald Trump announced pardons for several high-profile individuals in addition to commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The White House announced that he had signed an executive order pardoning former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and later Tuesday, Trump said he would pardon New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik.

During comments to reporters at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday afternoon, Trump acknowledged that he relies on recommendations from those around him in deciding how to apply his pardon power.

Speaking of Kerik, who is a good friend of Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the president said that Kerik "had many good recommendations from a lot of good people."

Kerik, a former New York police commissioner, was sentenced to 48 months in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty on multiple charges of tax fraud and lying to officials.

He served as Giuliani's body guard during Giuliani's 1993 mayoral campaign and was later appointed to serve as the New York City police commissioner in 2000. He was nominated by President George W. Bush in December 2004 to be the secretary of Homeland Security but withdrew his nomination due to potential tax violations.

PHOTO: Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner, attends a discussion in Dirksen Building on restoring federal voting rights to citizens who have past criminal records in Washington, July 22, 2014. (Tom Williams/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner, attends a discussion in Dirksen Building on restoring federal voting rights to citizens who have past criminal records in Washington, July 22, 2014. (Tom Williams/AP, FILE)

Kerik was released from prison in 2013 after serving three years for good behavior. In recent years he's been a frequent defender of Trump's on Fox News. Kerik did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MORE: Trump says he's commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley -- flanked by football legends Jim Brown and Jerry Rice -- announced to reporters earlier Tuesday that the president had signed an executive order pardoning DeBartolo.

PHOTO: Former owner of the San Francisco 49ers Edward DeBartolo, Jr., is interviewed before the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 8, 2015. (Gene J. Puskar/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: Former owner of the San Francisco 49ers Edward DeBartolo, Jr., is interviewed before the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 8, 2015. (Gene J. Puskar/AP, FILE)

Debartolo pleaded guilty in 1998 to concealing an alleged extortion plot by former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, involving the licensing of a casino.

"I take my hat off to Donald Trump for what he did," Rice told reporters outside of the White House.

In total, Trump granted seven pardons and four commutations on Tuesday.

Michael Milken, the former investment banker who became known for his involvement in an insider trading scandal, was among those who received a pardon.

He pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 1990 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, of which he ultimately served two.

During his remarks at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday, Trump praised Milken's philanthropic work, particularly in medical research. The pardon was supported by Giuliani and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He's also known to have a personal relationship with acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Trump also issued pardons to Ariel Friedler, a former technology entrepreneur who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to access a protected computer; Paul Pogue, a former construction company owner who underpaid his taxes; David Safavian; a former government official who served one year on perjury charges; and Angela Stanton, a television personality who served six months of home confinement for activities related to a stolen vehicle ring.

In addition to Blagojevich, sentences were commuted for Tynice Nichole Hall, a mother who was sentenced for possession and intent to distribute drugs; Judith Negron, who was serving time on charges related to a scheme to defraud the government, and Crystal Munoz, who was convicted for her role in a marijuana ring.

ABC News' Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report

This report was featured in the Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

"Start Here" offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, the ABC News app or wherever you get your podcasts.

Trump announces pardons for several high-profile individuals originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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