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Politics Trump is expected to announce 100 pardons and commutations. Will Anthony Viola's be among the names?

04:15  19 january  2021
04:15  19 january  2021 Source:   msn.com

Trump's sordid pardons cement his corrupt legacy (Opinion)

  Trump's sordid pardons cement his corrupt legacy (Opinion) John Avlon writes that President Donald Trump is serially abusing his pardon power. While the Founding Fathers enshrined a President's right to offer pardons in the Constitution, the use is limited -- at least in comparison to its modern use.The Founding Fathers would have been disgusted by President Donald Trump's serial abuse of the pardon power. Nearly 90% of his pardons to date have gone to friends or politically connected allies -- including corrupt politicians.

President Donald Trump is preparing to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday Other attention-grabbing names , like Julian Assange, are also not currently believed to among the people receiving pardons , but the list is still fluid and that could change, too.

Some allies believes Trump expects to benefit from many of those pardons and commutations after the presidency, CNN reported, citing a source: "He likes doing favors for people he thinks will owe him." The list of pardons and commutations could include Dr. Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor convicted

Anthony Viola's petition asking President Donald Trump to free him from prison opens with a photo. In it, Viola, dressed in a powder blue prison uniform, stands with his arm draped around Anna, his wife of 56 years.

  • President Donald Trump is expected to announce a series of pardons and commutations as he prepares to leave the White House on Jan. 20.
  • For federal inmates serving life sentences, presidential clemency can represent the last hope for release.
  • Trump has made very few pardons and his process has been unorthodox. For average inmates like Anthony Viola, it is unclear if it's possible to catch the president's attention.
  • Advocates are calling for President-elect Joe Biden to overhaul thr system.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

a little girl standing in front of a building: A photograph of Viola and his wife that was included in his clemency application. Viola family photo © Viola family photo A photograph of Viola and his wife that was included in his clemency application. Viola family photo

Trump prepares to offer clemency to more than 100 people in his final hours in office

  Trump prepares to offer clemency to more than 100 people in his final hours in office The president has been consumed with the question of whether to issued preemptive pardons to his children, top aides and himself, but it remains unclear whether he will do so. Trump met Sunday with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka Trump and other aides for a significant amount of the day to review a long list of pardon requests and discuss lingering questions about their appeals, according to the multiple people briefed on the meeting. The president was personally engaged with the details of specific cases, one person said.

Mr Trump , who has already issued two waves of pardons in the past month, met advisers on Sunday to finalise a list of more than 100 pardons and commutations to be announced on Tuesday, according to US media. CNN reported that the final list is expected to include a mixture of criminal

Trump is expected to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on the final full day of his single-term presidency, according to a new report. Though we likely won't hear anything about a confirmed list of names until Tuesday, the report notes that the group is expected to include "white collar

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The photo was taken in 2002 during one of Anna's visits to the penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, where Viola has been incarcerated for nearly three decades. In his clemency application, Viola writes that Anna, now 80, is due to undergo brain surgery to resolve complications from a previous surgery.

"I would like to be there for my wife, as she has been for my entire incarceration," he wrote. "She may not survive the surgery, I would like to be with her as we live out our remaining days."

Four years ago, as then-President Obama was leaving office, Viola's application was denied. Now, with Trump preparing to leave office, Viola is trying again. The application for clemency is perhaps his last chance at freedom.

As Trump prepares for final presidential pardons, will he attempt to pardon himself?

  As Trump prepares for final presidential pardons, will he attempt to pardon himself? Trump is reportedly planning to make more than 100 pardons before leaving office.According to CNN, Trump held a meeting on Sunday with top aides — including his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner — to review candidates for his final pardons. The Washington Post has reported that he will announce pardons and prison sentence commutations on either Monday or Tuesday.

Donald Trump is reportedly planning to dole out up to 100 pardons and commutations of sentence, which could include some white-collar criminals, in the According to CNN News, the list on Tuesday is expected to include criminal justice reform-minded pardons as well as those for some of his most

U. S . President Donald Trump is preparing to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on his President Donald Trump is expected to issue about 100 pardons on his final day in office on There' s growing concern among historians and political analysts that missing documents will leave a

Trump is expected to announce 100 pardons and commutations on Tuesday, the day before he hands power over to President-elect Joe Biden. On Monday, The New York Times reported that several people close to Trump had received large sums of money for assisting individuals in the process.

Meanwhile, Viola's health is also deteriorating. At 78, he is blind in one eye, has a pacemaker for a cardiac condition, and has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), among other illnesses. The petition includes a letter recounting how Viola opened up his coffee manufacturing warehouse to homeless people and veterans so they could take showers. Viola's granddaughter, Skyla, writes that she would like Viola to help her with her homework and teach her Italian. "I would really love to be with him at home with our family," the letter said.

In 1991, a jury convicted Viola of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and possessing a firearm. Prosecutors said Viola was the leader of a ring selling drugs and stolen goods on the Brooklyn waterfront, though Viola's former lawyer argued that he was actually a whistleblower. A judge sentenced him to natural life in prison, all but ensuring that Viola, who was 48 at the time, would die behind bars.

Trump's big decision on family pardons may give clue on political future

  Trump's big decision on family pardons may give clue on political future President Trump is expected to spend his final full day in office issuing some 100 pardons and commutations. And, for legal scholars and political pundits, the names will offer an insight into how Trump sees his role in the Republican Party after leaving office. © Provided by Washington Examiner While rapper Lil Wayne and disgraced Democratic politician Sheldon Silver are reportedly among the names likely to receive clemency, legal scholars will be watching to see whether Trump family members, such as daughter Ivanka or sons Don Jr. and Eric, will be given preemptive pardons. John Yoo, who worked in George W.

Trump may reportedly pardon up to 100 people before leaving the White House on However, there is a chance they will be announced on Wednesday morning just before Mr Trump leaves the White Fox News reports the rapper Lil Wayne is expected to be on the list. Meanwhile, the report says the

Donald Trump is expected to issue more than 100 presidential pardons on Tuesday, during his final hours in the White House, but may not pardon himself or his immediate family, it was reported on Monday. White House officials say Trump has privately debated with aides whether he should take

For the approximately 152,000 prisoners kept in federal detention, clemency represents one of the only opportunities for an early release. Congress abolished federal parole in 1984 and another mechanism, compassionate release, is difficult to win, leaving prisoners who have exhausted their appeals with little recourse except a pardon or commutation. A pardon essentially "forgives" a person, removing their prison sentence and clearing their record of their conviction so they regain rights sometimes prohibited for people convicted of crimes. A commutation, on the other hand, leaves the conviction intact but reduces a person's sentence.

Viola is one of an estimated 14,000 people who have asked President Trump to grant them clemency before leaving office. Many of the applicants were sentenced under mandatory minimum guidelines, often for drug offenses.

Paul Manafort et al. posing for the camera: Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, in 2019. Trump pardoned him in 2020. Seth Wenig/AP © Seth Wenig/AP Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, in 2019. Trump pardoned him in 2020. Seth Wenig/AP

Trump has rarely used the power, and his approach has been unorthodox. A large number of cases have involved the president's associates or those close to him, according to Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard University professor who has tracked Trump's use of clemency. Just before Christmas, he announced pardons for his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, as well as Charles Kushner, the father-in-law of Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump. In 2018, he announced he would free Alice Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender whose cause had been taken up by Kim Kardashian West, who made an appeal during a visit to the White House.

Trump's last-minute pardons include Bannon, Lil Wayne and scores of others

  Trump's last-minute pardons include Bannon, Lil Wayne and scores of others President Donald Trump issued a raft of 11th-hour pardons and commutations early Wednesday that included his onetime political strategist, a former top fundraiser and two well-known rappers but not himself or his family. The batch of 73 pardons and 70 commutations issued in the final hours of his presidency was expected, and is in keeping with a long-standing presidential tradition of exercising clemency powers at the last minute.The list reflected a President keen on awarding pardons to his stalwart allies, an unusual number of whom have been swept up in corruption or lying charges.

It is not clear that Viola will win the president's attention.

Calls to overhaul the federal clemency process have been made since long before Trump took office. But advocates say that the president's use of the power to protect those close to him, while largely ignoring ordinary applicants, has energized the fight for long-sought reforms to how clemency cases are handled.

Though clemency is a vital mechanism for release, its recent use has been rare. A study by the Pew Research Center showed that pardons and commutations dropped sharply starting in the Reagan administration, falling from 22% of applications granted under Jimmy Carter from 1977-1981 to 12% under Reagan during eight year tenure in the 80s. Obama, who was applauded for creating a clemency initiative during his second term that operated out of the DOJ, commuted even fewer -- just 1,927 sentences out of roughly 36,500. Since then, the initiative has been criticized for the thousands of people it left behind bars despite their strong cases for freedom.

"The process in the Department of Justice is really cumbersome and set up essentially so that most people get denied," Rachel Barkow, a New York University law professor specializing in clemency, told Insider.

Clemency applications begin in the Department of Justice's Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA), which advocates say is itself a conflict since the same agency that once prosecuted the prisoners holds the sole power to free them. If a prisoner's application does make it out of the OPA with a favorable recommendation, it's then reviewed by the Deputy Attorney General, whose role is to supervise all federal prosecutors -- another conflict of interest, advocates say. Finally, the application goes to the White House counsel.

Trump Grants Clemency to Fewer Petitioners Than Any Other President in the Past 120 Years

  Trump Grants Clemency to Fewer Petitioners Than Any Other President in the Past 120 Years When looking at the raw numbers of pardons and commutations, the president is low on the list compared to his predecessors as he granted clemency to only about 1.7 percent of the people who petitioned him for it. Since taking office, Trump has pardoned 116 people and commuted sentences for 89 others. That's 96 fewer pardons and 1,626 fewer commutations than his predecessor, President Barack Obama, granted in his time in office.The bulk of Obama's pardons and commutations came during the 2017 fiscal year, the end of his time in office.

Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian are posing for a picture: Kim Kardashian West speaks at an event at the White House, June 13, 2019. Evan Vucci/AP © Evan Vucci/AP Kim Kardashian West speaks at an event at the White House, June 13, 2019. Evan Vucci/AP

"I understand why people get upset with [Trump] but they forget that going back to the Department of Justice is not necessarily an answer," said Sam Morrison, an attorney who worked in the OPA from 1997-2010. "[The OPA] has a very negative view toward clemency and they sort of view it as undermining the work of a prosecutor somewhere. When they review these petitions they just look for a reason to say no."

During his presidency, Trump has circumvented the DOJ system altogether, opting for an internal review inside the White House. Morrison, who has knowledge of the Trump process, said that the applications are distributed to junior attorneys tasked with making a recommendation to the president.

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to reduce the prison population and has called the lengthy sentences for drug offenses that he advocated for as a senator "a big mistake."

Morrison and Barkow both hope that as president Biden will finally reform the system. They are calling on him to form an independent panel within the executive branch to review clemency applications, and include prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, formerly incarcerated people, and criminologists.

"The key is you just don't want it to have DOJ in charge of the entire thing," said Barkow. "If you had people who represent a range of perspectives you'd have far more cases that would get a recommendation for a grant."

Morrison added that the process should be made more transparent so prisoners have an opportunity to read why the government opposes their petition and respond accordingly. Currently, prisoners are not given a reason why their petitions are denied. Biden's transition team did not respond to a request for comment on his plans for clemency from Insider.

Viola, for his part, remains optimistic.

In a telephone interview with Insider, he spoke about his fear of contracting COVID-19, his desire to see his children, and wife's imminent death. "She's actually waiting for me to come home," he said.

He struggled to hear questions, even while wearing a hearing aid. After five minutes, the line went dead.

Read the original article on Insider

Chronicling Trump's 10 most egregious abuses of power .
Former President Donald Trump flouted the limits of presidential power unlike any of his recent predecessors, leaving behind a legacy of unmatched abuses that range from violations of longstanding norms to potentially criminal behavior. © Provided by CNN It was hard to keep track amid the daily deluge of controversial tweets and distractions that were a hallmark of the Trump presidency. And some of the most egregious abuses of power weren't clear at the time but came into focus after exhaustive investigations.

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