Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Trump considering commuting Blagojevich sentence

Trump to pardon Dinesh D’Souza Getty Images
Michele Schwartz | 02 June, 2018, 02:12

President Trump has pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to making illegal campaign contributions in other people's names. A pardon wipes the slate clean for someone convicted of a crime, but a commutation only lets someone out of a prison sooner, said Robert Spitzer, former president of the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association.

"If you're Michael Cohen, the message is: 'Stick with me, '" said Andrew Wright, former associate White House counsel during the Obama administration and Savannah Law School professor. "He was treated very unfairly by our government".

D'Souza had plead guilty in 2014 to federal campaign finance law violations.

So just who is Dinesh D'Souza? That prosecution was led by one of Bharara's predecessors as USA attorney, James B. Comey, who would go on to be Federal Bureau of Investigation director and also get fired by Trump.

Trump has granted five pardons since taking office including one to Joe Arpaio, a Trump supporter who was convicted of contempt of court for racially profiling Hispanics while serving as a sheriff in Arizona.

Stewart and Blagojevich both were involved with Trump's "Apprentice" reality TV television show. "My heartfelt thanks to those who prayed for me, supported me & reached out on social media to President Trump to pardon me", he said.

Possibly mixing up years with actual corruption charges, Trump added four years onto Blagojevich's actual 14-year sentence in saying "eighteen years is, I think, really unfair".

Schaub was far from alone in seeing nefarious motives in the pardon - along with other pardons Trump has not even granted but has publicly mulled, such as for businesswoman Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"President Trump told me he felt I had been treated very unfairly and he felt that I was an important voice for America", D'Souza said.

D'Souza claimed his conviction was politically motivated because Obama was angry over a movie he had made about him.

"Trump's action sends yet another risky signal that he will abuse his power to protect those who would subvert the rule of law, including the laws that protect the integrity of our democracy from corruption", Flynn said. A former top aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney, Libby was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice following the 2003 leak of the covert identity of a Central Intelligence Agency officer.

D'Souza said in one tweet that the students had received the "worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs".

Before he started making documentaries, D'Souza was a prominent conservative writer and pundit, and was briefly president of a Christian college in NY.

Also pardoned was former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Trump also pardoned Jack Johnson, boxing's first black heavyweight champion, whose case had been brought to his attention by actor Sylvester Stallone.

While issuing pardons used to be more common, presidents in the past few decades have waited until closer to the end of their terms before granting large amounts of pardons, particularly those that might be considered controversial.

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