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As of Dec. 24, President Trump has issued clemency in the form of pardons or commutations to more than 90 people, from relatively obscure white-collar or nonviolent drug offenders to the famous (conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza; Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio) and the infamous (four security contractors with the Blackwater firm who murdered more than a dozen civilians in Iraq).
Other presidents have issued more pardons, and some of them have been controversial, including Bill Clinton’s last-second pardon for financier Marc Rich, a well-connected Democratic donor who was living in Switzerland as a fugitive and faced numerous criminal charges in the U.S.
In the days just before Christmas, Trump issued 45 pardons, including one to Charles Kushner, the father of Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, and to Trump’s own close associates Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, who had been convicted of crimes related to the 2016 campaign, leading to speculation that the pardons were a reward for their refusing to give evidence to investigators that could have implicated Trump.It is widely believed that Trump will issue more pardons before he leaves office on Jan. 20, including to family members who have not been charged with any crimes — or to himself.
Here, in no particular order, is a list of the people given clemency by Trump:
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States. He was fired from his job as Trump’s national security adviser for lying Vice President Mike Pence about those contacts.
The campaign manager for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Manafort was convicted in 2018 of committing financial fraud in relation to his business dealings in Russia, and for his attempts to hide his crimes from investigators.
In connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with the Russian government, Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser, also pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. He served a 14-day prison sentence in 2018.
Alex van der Zwaan
A Dutch lawyer who had worked with Manafort, van der Zwaan served 30 days in prison after pleading guilty in 2018 to lying to Mueller’s investigators.
In 2019, Stone was convicted for crimes that included witness tampering and lying to investigators in the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller of Stone’s suspected role in the release of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.
The former California congressman pleaded guilty in 2019 to misusing campaign funds on family vacations and to pay for an extramarital affair. Hunter was an early and ardent Trump supporter.
The first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s presidential run in 2016, former Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., was found guilty of insider trading and lying to the FBI. At the time of Trump’s pardon, had been serving a 26-month prison sentence.
Another jailed former member of congress, former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, was convicted in 2018 of a scheme to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to charity and voter education for his own personal use.
Jared Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, a real estate investor, pleaded guilty in 2004 to a raft of crimes that included 18 counts of making false statements the Federal Election Commission, tax evasion and witness tampering. He arranged an assignation with a prostitute for his sister’s husband, recorded the encounter and sent the tape to his sister, who he believed was cooperating with investigators. He was prosecuted by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who after abandoning his own presidential campaign in 2016 became a Trump supporter and surrogate. Kushner served 18 months behind bars.
A former member of the Utah House of Representatives, Lyman served a 10-day prison sentence in 2014 for his participation in a protest over federal land management practices involving all-terrain-vehicles.
Dwight Hammond Jr.
A rancher in Oregon, Hammond was convicted of arson on federal land in 2012 and was initially sentenced to serve three months in jail. In 2015, however, his sentence was vacated and increased to the federal minimum of five years in prison, setting off protests that resulted in an armed standoff with federal agents.
Hammond, the son of Dwight Hammond Jr., was found to have set multiple fires after the family’s permit to graze cattle on federal land was revoked. He was initially sentenced to serve a year in prison before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and then increased that sentence to five years.
Siljander was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice and working as a foreign agent for an Islamic charity that was seeking to be removed from a list of organizations that supported terrorism.
GOP congressman says he is "beyond disappointed" with one of Trump's latest pardons pic.twitter.com/80Do5DhjVh
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) December 24, 2020
Slatten, a contractor for Blackwater, which was founded by Trump supporter Erik Prince, had been sentenced to life in prison on a charge of first degree murder for the 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians that left 14 dead and 17 wounded, including children.
Another of the so-called Blackwater Four, Slough was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the unprovoked Iraqi massacre.
Liberty received a prison sentence of 14 years after taking part in the slaughter of Iraqi civilians, none of whom were armed, in Baghdad’s Nisour Square.
Another former military veteran who went to work for Blackwater, Heard, like Slough and Liberty, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a machine gun to carry out a violent crime. He was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison. The White House statement on the pardons for the four Blackwater guards notes they “have a long history of service to the Nation” in the military before their employment as contractors. The White House statement asserts that “prosecutors recently disclosed — more than 10 years after the incident — that the lead Iraqi investigator, who prosecutors relied heavily on to verify that there were no insurgent victims and to collect evidence, may have had ties to insurgent groups himself.” The charges against the four were initially dismissed on a technicality, which then-Vice President Joe Biden pledged to reverse, leading some conservative commentators and Republican officials to refer to them as the “Biden Four.”
A former Army first lieutenant, Behenna was discharged and sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 2008 murder of an Iraqi man during the U.S. occupation.
Saucier was sentenced in 2016 to a year in prison for photographing sensitive areas of a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine on which he served. He claimed he took the pictures as souvenirs and reports of his trial in 2015 do not indicate that he was engaged in espionage. At his sentencing he asked for clemency on the grounds that he was being punished more severely than Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state. Trump cited the case during his 2016 campaign.
A Republican party operative and an official in the George W. Bush administration, Safavian was convicted in 2006 on obstruction of justice and perjury charges stemming from the investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and sentenced to 72 months in prison.
A financier who pioneered the issuance of junk bonds, Milken was convicted in 1990 of securities fraud, mail fraud, tax fraud, filing false SEC reports and conspiracy. He received a prison sentence of two years and was fined $200 million. Rudy Giuliani and Sheldon Adelson reportedly asked Trump to pardon Milken.
A former U.S. border patrol agent, Ramos was sentenced to 11 years in prison for shooting a suspected drug smuggler fleeing arrest in 2006. Ramos’s sentence was commuted in 2009 by then-president George W. Bush.
Compean, another border patrol agent, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for his role in the shooting by Ramos and for “obstructing justice by willfully defacing the crime scene.” Bush also commuted his sentence.
A former Maryland police officer, Mohr served 10 years in prison for unleashing her police service dog on a homeless man she suspected of a burglary. The man suffered non-fatal bites. In announcing her pardon, the White House said “Officer Mohr was a highly commended member of the police force prior to her prosecution.”
Convicted of contempt of court charges in 2017, former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Arpaio, known for his roundups of suspected undocumented immigrants and his harsh treatment of detainees. His was the first pardon issued by Trump, in 2018, before his sentencing.
A billionaire media mogul and Trump’s biographer and friend, Black was sentenced to 42 months in prison after being convicted of mail fraud and obstruction of justice in 2007.
Former New York City Police Commissioner Kerik, a protégé of Rudy Giuliani, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and other charges in 2010 and was sentenced to four years behind bars.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s aide, “Scooter” Libby received a sentence of 30 months in prison after his 2007 conviction on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements in connection with an investigation in the leaked identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.
The former governor of Illinois, a Democrat, was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 14 years in prison for attempting to solicit bribes in exchange for filling the vacant U.S. Senate seat left by then-President Barack Obama. Trump commuted his sentence in February, saying he “seemed like a very nice person” during an appearance on Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice.”
A conservative political commentator, D’Souza was sentenced to five years probation and fined $30,000 after pleading guilty to making illegal campaign contributions in 2012.
Alfred Lee Crum
Crum, 89, pled guilty to distilling moonshine in 1952 and was sentenced to three years’ probation. Since then he “has maintained a clean record and a strong marriage for nearly 70 years, attended the same church for 60 years, raised four children, and regularly participated in charity fundraising events,” according to the White House.
Edward DeBartolo Jr.
The former owner of the San Francisco 49ers pleaded guilting concealing an attempt at extortion involving a gaming license for a casino in which he had a financial stake and was sentenced to two years probation and given a $250,000 fine.
Alice Marie Johnson
In 1997, Johnson, a single mother, was given a mandatory life sentence for her participation in a cocaine-trafficking ring. Her appeals for clemency were taken up by the ACLU and other civil liberties organizations who viewed her as an example of the disproportionate effect of the war on drugs on Black defendants. After an appeal to Trump by Kim Kardashian, her sentence was commuted in 2018 and she was freed from prison. She spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention in August, and a day later Trump issued her a full pardon.
A motivational speaker, Stanton was convicted in 2007 and served six months in home confinement for her role in a stolen-car ring. Prior to her pardon she praised Trump in a series of interviews.
A former Army lieutenant, Lorance was convicted in 2013 of second-degree murder and war crimes after ordering men under his command to open fire on unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. Lorance’s own men testified against him during his trial, and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper sharply disagreed with Trump’s decision to pardon him.
In 2018, ahead of his court martial trail, Army Maj. Golsteyn admitted to killing a suspected bomb-maker in Afghanistan. Trump pardoned him before his murder trial.
Pogue, a Texas business owner, was pardoned for a 2010 conviction for filing false income tax statements. (The White House statement said he underpaid his taxes by “approximately 10 percent;” the amount was almost $500,000.) Pogue’s family donated some $200,000 to Trump’s reelection campaign.
The former CEO of Symplicity pleaded guilty in 2014 to conspiracy to hack into computer systems of two of his competitors and was sentenced to two months in prison. Chris Christie asked Trump to pardon Friedler.
Nolan, the former Republican leader in the California Assembly, pleaded guilty in 1994 to corruption charges and was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
Convicted in 1990 of drug trafficking and fraud, Todesco was originally pardoned by former President Barack Obama in 2017, but Trump’s order fixed a clerical error in the initial pardon.
Arrested in 1989 and charged at the age of 19 with transporting marijuana from Mexico to Oklahoma, McKeever served a year in prison.
A resident of Indiana, Bubala pleaded guilty in 1990 to illegally transferring government equipment. He was sentenced to two years of probation and two months of home confinement.
Convicted in the Eastern District of Kentucky of conspiracy to steal firearms and theft of firearms shipped in interstate commerce, Williams received a four-month prison term in 1995.
After being arrested 1987 and pleading no contest to running an illegal gambling parlor, Takumi, a tax preparer in the Navajo Nation, was sentenced to two years of probation.
In 2005, Ponder pleaded guilty to bank robbery and was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. While incarcerated, he founded Hope for Prisoners, a reentry program and, after receiving his pardon, was featured in a video shown during the 2020 Republican National Convention.
After being brought to Trump’s attention by Kim Kardashian, Munoz was granted clemency by the president for marijuana charges. She had spent more than 12 years behind bars in a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.
Tynice Nichole Hall
Convicted on federal drug charges in 2006, Hall served the next 14 years in prison. Trump granted her clemency in February.
Convicted in 2011 for charges including conspiracy, fraud, paying kickbacks and money laundering in a $200 million scheme to bilk Medicare, Negron was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Trump commuted that sentence in February.
Stephens served 18 months in prison after pleading guilty in 2008 of felony possession of a firearm. That charge came after a second felony offense in 1991.
Convicted in 2004 of selling marijuana and carrying a handgun while dealing, Angelos was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 55 years behind bars. After serving 13 years of that sentence, he became involved in criminal justice reform efforts, eventually participating in a Prison Reform Summit at the White House in 2018, the White House said in a statement.
Convicted of fraudulently billing insurance companies for dental work he never did, Costa pleaded guilty to health care fraud spanning 1996 to 2001. HUD secretary Ben Carson had lobbied Trump for Costa’s pardon. “Al Costa is my best friend,” Carson told WPIX news.
Once known as the king of Medicare fraud, Esformes was sentenced in 2019 to 20 years in prison after being charged three years earlier for his role in a $1.3 billion scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid for services never rendered. The New York Times reported that clemency for Esformes was promoted by the Aleph Institute, a criminal-justice organization founded by the Lubavitcher sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews, with connections to Jared Kushner and legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, a high-profile Trump defender. “While in prison, Mr. Esformes, who is 52, has been devoted to prayer and repentance and is in declining health,” the White House said in a statement about the commutation of his sentence after less than two years.
In 1993, Gordon was sentenced to just over 7 years in prison after being convicted of selling, distributing and dispensing cocaine. In the years since his conviction, Gordon became a pastor and a mentor to at-risk children.
A Florida real estate manager, Batmasian served an 8-month prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2008 to willful failure to collect and remit payroll taxes. In a statement accompanying Trump’s pardon, the White House said his Batmasian’s charitable work influenced the president’s decision.
The former chief financial officer of Conrad Black’s Hollinger International, Boultbee was convicted in 2007 on three counts of mail fraud. Black was convicted of the same charges and each faced the prospect of up to 35 years in jail.
Like Boultbee and Black, Atkinson, the former vice president of Hollinger International was also charged with mail fraud. In a statement that accompanied their pardons, the White House said, ‘Both men were convicted as part of an alleged fraud scheme involving Lord Conrad Black, and both served nearly a year in prison for mail fraud.”
A former U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brugman was convicted of violating the civil rights of a man who attempted to illegally cross into Texas from across the Mexican border. After being stopped in 2001 by Brugman and his partner, a group of approximately 10 people suspected of entering the country illegally ran from the officers before being detained. When Brugman caught up to the group, he assaulted one of the men by kicking and punching him. Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn advocated for Brugman’s pardon.
Christopher II X, aka Christopher Anthony Bryant
Convicted of multiple crimes spanning more than two decades stemming from drug addiction, Bryant founded Game Changers, a nonprofit organization for at-risk youths. In 2019, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin issued a pardon of Bryant’s state crimes. “Mr. II X is a powerful example of the possibility of redemption,” the White House said in a statement accompanying Trump’s pardon of his federal crimes.
Convicted in 2016 of Medicaid fraud and bribery charges, Suhl was sentenced to seven years in prison. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee approached Trump about pardoning him.
Convicted of money laundering and tax evasion in 2006, Charleston was the victim of human trafficking, forced to work as a prostitute in Dallas after running away from home at an early age. She eventually turned her life around and has become an advocate for at-risk teens.
Coughlin, a mid-level Justice Department official, pleaded guilty in 2008 to accepting bribes in exchange for doing favors for a politically connected law firm. He was sentenced to 30 days in a halfway house and “wishes to put his mistakes behind him,” according to the White House statement
After being convicted for bank fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud, Rubashkin, the former CEO of a kosher slaughterhouse and meat packing plant, was sentenced in 2010 to 27 years in prison and ordered to pay $26.9 million in restitution. Seven years later, Trump commuted his sentence.
Sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute synthetic drugs purchased from suppliers in China, Israeli-born Nahami was aided in his plea for clemency by U.S. lawyer and Trump confidant Alan Dershowitz. When Trump’s pardon came, Nahami had served four years of his sentence.
Citing her intervention while in prison to help a nurse who was being attacked by what the White House described as an unstable inmate, Trump commuted Logan’s 27-year sentence after she’d already served 20 years from a drug conspiracy conviction.
Convicted in 2013 for her role in a scheme to launder $8 million from the federal food stamp program. Reed had served seven of her 14-year sentence when Trump commuted her sentence in October.
A boxer from Gary, Ind., Tanner had his sentence commuted by Trump this fall. He had been serving a 30-year sentence on drug and conspiracy convictions.
A first-time offender who was convicted in 2007 on a number of serious drug charges, Bolen was sentenced to life in prison. Trump commuted his sentence in October after former President Barack Obama denied his clemency request in 2017.
In 1996, McDonald was convicted on drug trafficking and money laundering charges and sentenced to life in prison. The White House said in a statement describing Trump’s decision to grant McDonald clemency that he “made productive use of his time” while in prison.
Convicted in 2019 of money laundering and conspiring to commit $50 million in health care fraud, Gozers-Wagner was sentenced to serve 240 months in prison and ordered to pay $15.2 million in restitution. The White House described that penalty as too high in explaining Trump’s decision to wipe it clean.
Sentenced to serve an 85-year jail term after being convicted of defrauding more than 250 people in a real estate scam worth $23 million, Stitsky was called “an inveterate con man” by the judge in his case. “Mr. Stitsky has reflected on the victims of his crime and the remorse that he now has,” the White House said in a statement explaining Trump’s pardon.
The founder of the Cobalt Companies, Shapiro was sentenced to 85 years in jail in a $23 million real estate fraud scheme along with two other men. In a statement explaining why Trump had pardoned Shapiro, the White House said he had “renewed his faith in Judaism and taught fellow inmates the dangers of dishonesty.”
The wife of former Rep. Duncan Hunter, she pleaded guilty to a single felony charge relating to the same misuse of $250,000 in campaign donations for personal expenses, including her husband’s trysts with his girlfriends. She filed for divorce last month.
Kanter owned a company that manufactured orthotic shoe inserts and pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud for selling products that were not approved for Medicare recipients. He is better known as the plaintiff in Kanter v. Barr, in which he sued to overturn federal and Wisconsin state laws forbidding convicted felons from owning a firearm. He lost the case on appeal to the Seventh Circuit, but a dissenting opinion, holding that the laws violate the Second Amendment, was written by Judge Amy Coney Barrett, appointed by Trump as an associate justice on the Supreme Court.
Kassouf, a Cleveland businessman and developer, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return in 1999. He was co-host of a Trump campaign fundraiser at an Ohio country club in August.
Lozada is a Miami businessman and an immigrant from Cuba. His pardon “addresses a mistake Mr. Lozada made in 2004 of conspiring to distribute marijuana,” according to the White House statement.
Joseph Martin Stephens
Stephens pled guilty to illegal possession of a firearm in 2008, a crime “predicated on a State felony conviction from 1991, when he was 19,” according to the White House statement on his pardon.
McCarty, a former member of the Palm Beach County Commission, pleaded guilty in 2009 to a federal charge of honest services fraud for steering bond-underwriting business to her husband and accepting favors from a company doing business with the county. The White House statement noted that “the Supreme Court has since interpreted that statute more narrowly, meaning that Ms. McCarty’s conduct might not be criminally prosecuted today.”
Occhipinti was an agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1991 when he was convicted of violating the civil rights of Hispanic shopkeepers in Manhattan with illegal searches and fabricated reports. His 37-month prison sentence was commuted to seven months by President George H.W. Bush. “Mr. Occhipinti had a 22-year highly decorated career in which he earned 76 separate commendations,” according to the White House statement.
William J. Plemons Jr.
Plemons, a Georgia businessman, “was convicted of various financial crimes in the late 1990s and early 2000s,” according to the White House, and served 27 months in prison.
Sam, a New York City businesswoman, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine in 2012 and served three years of a 130-month sentence.
John Tate and Jesse Benton
Tate and Benton, whose pardons were announced together, were officials in the 2012 presidential campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul and convicted of paying an Iowa state senator to support Paul’s candidacy. Their pardons were supported by Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul, and by former Federal Election Commission Chair Lee Goodman, according to the White House.
“Wade served two years’ probation after pleading guilty to various cyber-crimes,” the White House said. Tried in the Southern District of New York, his offenses and sentence remain under seal, according to the Justice Department.
Andrew Barron Worden
Worden, an investor and renewable-energy entrepreneur, was convicted of wire fraud in 1995. “At the time, Mr. Worden had just graduated from college and made mistakes in running an investment firm he founded,” according to the White House.
Convicted in 1913 for the crime of transporting a white woman across state lines, legendary boxer Jack Johnson was pardoned by Trump after actor/director Sylvester Stallone brought the case to his attention.
Susan B. Anthony
Historians point out that Anthony never would have sought a pardon for her 1872 arrest for voting before women had gained that right in the United States, but Trump pardoned the pioneering feminist in August of this year.
In 1948, Jeffries, a mining engineer, was convicted of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 for engaging in anticompetitive practices and fined $2,500. That slight offense for the one-time General Electric vice president was enough to get Trump to offer him a full pardon 71 years later.
Plaisance, who died in November, received a posthumous pardon for a 1987 conviction on “a single count of conspiracy to import cocaine stemming from one conversation in which he participated,” according to the White House.
Cover photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters
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