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Politics Trump Grants Clemency to Rod Blagojevich, Bernard Kerik and Michael Milken

22:50  18 february  2020
22:50  18 february  2020 Source:   nytimes.com

Trump pardons former New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik

  Trump pardons former New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik President Donald Trump has pardoned former New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik, he announced at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Kerik, who once served three years in federal prison for charges including tax fraud and lying to officials, was nominated as homeland security secretary by President George W. Bush but withdrew from consideration due to potential tax violations.

WASHINGTON — President Trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, the Democrat who was convicted of trying to essentially sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat for personal gain, and pardoned the financier Michael R. Milken and Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, the president announced on Tuesday.

Rod Blagojevich et al. standing in front of a crowd: Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois.© Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois.

“Yes, we commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich,” Mr. Trump told reporters just before boarding Air Force One for a four-day trip to the west coast where he is scheduled to hold three campaign rallies. “He served eight years in jail, a long time. He seems like a very nice person, don’t know him.”

Trump pardons Michael Milken, face of 1980s insider financial scandals

  Trump pardons Michael Milken, face of 1980s insider financial scandals Milken, 73, originally was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but that punishment was later reduced to two years locked up after he cooperated with federal investigators. Milken also is banned for life from working in the securities industry. It was not immediately clear Tuesday if that ban would be lifted as a result of his pardon.That pardon, which had been considered for as long as two years, was one of 11 acts of executive clemency issued Tuesday by Trump.The president also granted pardons to former New York City police commissioner Bernie Kerik and ex-San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

Mr. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, was convicted of tax fraud and lying to the government. And he said he had also pardoned Mr. Milken, the investment banker who was known in the 1980s as the “junk bond king” and who has fought for decades to reverse his conviction for securities fraud.

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Mr. Trump commuted the former governor’s sentence on Tuesday after saying for years that he was considering intervening in Mr. Blagojevich’s case. By commuting the sentence, the president would free Mr. Blagojevich from prison without wiping out the conviction. Republicans have advised the president against it, arguing that Mr. Blagojevich’s crime epitomizes the corruption that Mr. Trump had said he wanted to tackle as president.

Illinois GOP House delegation blasts Blagojevich commutation: 'The face of public corruption'

  Illinois GOP House delegation blasts Blagojevich commutation: 'The face of public corruption' Illinois's Republican congressional delegation criticized President Trump's decision Tuesday to commute former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (D) sentence, saying he is "the face of public corruption" in the state."We are disappointed by the president's commutation of Rod Blagojevich's federal sentence. We believe he received an appropriate and fair sentence, which was the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines for the gravity of his public corruption convictions," wrote Reps. Darin LaHood, John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis and Mike Bost.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Jerry Rice speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday.© Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times Jerry Rice speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

The president’s decision came the same day that he pardoned or commuted the sentences of eight others including Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers who pleaded guilty in 1998 to concealing an extortion attempt and eventually surrendered control of his team.

Mr. DeBartolo, the scion of a prominent real estate development family who created one of the National Football League’s greatest dynasties, was prosecuted after agreeing to pay $400,000 in brand-new $100 bills to Edwin W. Edwards, the influential former governor of Louisiana, to secure a riverboat gambling license for his gambling consortium.

Mr. DeBartolo avoided prison but was fined $1 million and suspended for a year by the N.F.L. He later handed over the 49ers to his sister Denise DeBartolo York. His nephew Jed York currently runs the team, which made it back to the Super Bowl this year only to fall to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Trump pardons Bernard Kerik: Why the former N.Y. police commissioner spent time in prison

  Trump pardons Bernard Kerik: Why the former N.Y. police commissioner spent time in prison Kerik was sentenced to four years in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty to eight felony charges for offenses including failure to pay taxes.The White House announced Tuesday that Trump had granted a full pardon to Kerik, as well as a commutation for disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In conversations with advisers, Mr. Trump has also raised the prospect of commuting the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr, his longest-serving adviser, who was convicted in November of seven felony charges, including tampering with a witness and lying under oath in order to obstruct a congressional inquiry into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Asked about a pardon for Mr. Stone on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said “I haven’t given it any thought.”

Mr. DeBartolo, often called Eddie D., controlled the franchise for 23 years, presiding over the 49ers’ golden era in the 1980s and 1990s when the team won five Super Bowl championships under coach Bill Walsh with legendary players like Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice. Despite his felony conviction, Mr. DeBartolo was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

Mr. Trump made no immediate comment Tuesday on his decision but left it to his deputy press secretary, Hogan Gidley, to announce the pardon to reporters. Joining Mr. Gidley at the announcement was a host of N.F.L. legends who supported Mr. DeBartolo, including Mr. Rice, Mr. Lott, Jim Brown and Charles Haley.

Rod Blagojevich prison sentence commuted: What's next for the former Illinois governor after clemency

  Rod Blagojevich prison sentence commuted: What's next for the former Illinois governor after clemency Rod Blagojevich prison sentence commuted: What's next for the former Illinois governor after clemencyRELATED: Ex-Illinois governor gets prison break from Trump

“Eddie was like that 12th man that was on that football field,” Mr. Rice told reporters. “You know that this guy, you know, he wanted us to win. And I think he’s the main reason why we won so many Super Bowls. So today is a great day for him. I’m glad to be here and be a part of that.”

Along with Mr. Brown, Mr. DeBartolo was among the hosts of a pre-inauguration party in 2017 that honored people close to Mr. Trump at the time, including Michael D. Cohen, his personal attorney who later went to prison for campaign finance violations and tax evasion, and Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who joined the White House staff before later being fired. Mr. Trump promoted the event on Twitter at the time.

In the late 1990s, Mr. DeBartolo was an investor in the Hollywood Casino Corp., a Dallas company seeking permission for a riverboat casino in Louisiana. On March 12, 1997, he met Mr. Edwards for lunch in California and handed over $400,000 that the former Louisiana governor had demanded for his help in securing a license. The next day, the Gaming Board granted the license. A month later, federal agents raided Mr. Edwards’s house and office, seizing the $400,000.

“Why do it? It actually was just plain stupidity, and I should have just walked away from it,” Mr. DeBartolo told NFL Films for a biographical documentary in 2012. “I was as much to blame because I was old enough to know better and too stupid to do anything about it.”

Trump, tweeting a Tucker Carlson segment, hints of possible pardon for Roger Stone .
“President Trump could end this travesty in an instant with a pardon and there are indications tonight that he will do that,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his show.Tucker Carlson, along with other Fox News personalities, serves as an informal adviser to the president. While it was unclear whether Carlson knows something about Trump’s plans to which the public is not privy, or was again lobbying the president, the fact that Trump retweeted the clip suggests at least that he approves of the idea, which he claimed Tuesday he had not thought about.

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