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Bill Clinton pardon controversy

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Last Updated: 31 October 2020

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You know there were scores of commentators, talk show hosts, cable news anchors and politicians whose lives would be made miserable by the absence of a Clinton presidency to talk about, and talk about, and talk about. What you do not know was the depth of Clinton's compassion. Clearly feeling the pain of this constituency, former President created enough controversy around pardons, gifts and office space to keep anti-Clinton businesses in business. The Clinton generosity kept the story alive over the weekend. He went public on Friday to announce he was paying for some of those gifts he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had receive, and would also have his Foundation cover part of the rent on his New Manhattan digs. But Clintons truly remarkable achievement was in creating consensus against himself with his PARDON of Marc Rich, popularly known as a fugitive financier, and otherwise known as a large-scale tax cheat and buster of sanctions. On this one, I wager all the money Rich owes the Government that Clinton friends are even more outraged than his enemies. Take Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat and House Judiciary Committee member who was one of Clintons most forceful and articulate defenders during the impeachment mess. I was very angry about it, Frank said of Rich PARDON. It was real betrayal by Bill Clinton of all who had been strongly supportive of him to do something this unjustified. It was contemptuous. Then there is Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat who is one of the most liberal members of Congress. It put back into sharp focus all questions about values and ethics in relation to the Clinton administration, he say. I think it was a mistake. I dont know why he does this. People in this country need to be given more encouragement about public affairs, not more reasons to be cynical. Fresh off his battle against John Ashcrofts nomination for Attorney General, Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, ranking Democratic member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, was no less angry. It was terrible PARDON, he say. It was inexcusable. It was outrageousHere. Was a man who was involved in a huge swindle and had shown absolutely no remorse. Usually, Leahy add, pardons go to those who have paid at least some penalty for their crime. Richs penalty? Hes been living a life of luxury in exile in Switzerland and Spain. I noticed on the Washington Posts op-ed page that one of the original prosecutors in the Rich case was Martin Auerbach, now a lawyer in private practice. Having met Auerbach in college more than three decades ago, I rather doubt he had become a right-wing conspiracist. So I call him, too. I have voted for Clinton three times, say Auerbach, who lives in Brooklyn and was referring to his Presidential votes in 1992 and 1996, and his ballot for Hillary Clinton in last year's Senate contest. Ive defended Clinton for years. I always felt that rules had changed around him. But this creates a whole different question in my mind.

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FALN Commutation of 1999

The White House announced this afternoon that 12 jailed members of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Group had accepted President Clinton's conditional offer of clemency. Eleven will be eligible for release within days, while 12 had their 55-year sentence drastically reduced and will be parole in five years. Two other jail members of the radical group, know as FALN, Spanish initials for Armed Forces of National Liberation, refuse to accept the President's offer to commute their sentences. Mr. Clinton demanded as one of the conditions of their release that jailed Puerto Ricans renounce use of terrorism to achieve their aim of independence for the Caribbean commonwealth. Roberto Maldonado-Rivera and Norman Ramirez-Talavera, who both were released from prison several years ago after serving their sentences in 1983 armored car robbery in West Hartford, Conn., Have not replied to clemency offer and have until Friday to do so. Clemency offer would forgive unpaid balance on fines imposed on them in case. Joe Lockhart, White House press secretary, said in a written statement this afternoon: 'The President expects all those who accept the conditional clemency grant to abide fully by its terms, including refraining from use or advocacy of use of violence for any purpose and obeying all statutory conditions of parole. ' acceptance of clemency offer further roiled emotional political debate that has pit First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, against her husband and the riven Democratic Party in New York. Mrs. Clinton announced her opposition to commutations on Saturday, saying that Puerto Rican nationalists had shown insufficient contrition for their acts and those of others in the independence movement. Puerto Rican nationalists were serving sentences of as long as 90 years in Federal Prisons for offenses including sedition, possession of unregistered firearms, interstate transportation of stolen vehicle, interference with interstate commerce by violence and interstate transportation of firearms with intent to commit crime. None of those whose sentences Mr. Clinton planned to commute was convicted of crimes that resulted in deaths or injuries. Mr. Clinton, who has not spoken publicly on the matter, said through a spokesman that sentences were out of proportion to nationalists' offenses and that prisoners, some of whom have already served 18 years in prison, deserve release if they forswore future acts of terrorism. 12 members of the group who accepted the clemency offer, originally announced on Aug. 11, did so after consultation with their lawyer, Jan Susler of Chicago, who said at a news conference this evening that she was 'elated by prisoners' impending release. ' I think it is a tremendous victory and accomplishment for Puerto Rican people and people who love justice, ' Ms. Susler say. But she and another lawyer for FALN members, Michael Deutsch, add that they were concerned that after their release, nationalists would be subject to harassment by law-enforcement officials and denied the right to peaceable political activity.

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Richard Nixon

Pardoning a figure like Roger Stone is not an unusual act. Doing so before the election is remarkable, Dr. Engel say. In most cases, as in elder Mr. Bushs postelection pardons, pardon or commutation come when there is little to no risk or political capital left to be lose. Also, presidential pardons do not usually benefit people with whom the president has personal ties. For more modern presidents in the 20th and 21st century, it is not personal, Dr. Chervinsky say. It is generally not about politics, it is more about values and social policy. Of course, this President is an exception to that. Dr. Engel said that Mr. Trump has an unusual barometer for what is and is not politically damaging, adding, every other President would have to act with different calculus.

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Patty Hearst and Bill Clinton

In his final hours as President, Bill Clinton on Saturday granted pardons to 140 Americans, including Patricia Hearst, heiress kidnapped in the 1970s; his half-brother, Roger, who was convicted on drug charges; and Susan McDougal, who spent 18 months in jail rather than testify about the Clinton role in the Whitewater scandal. Former Housing Secretary Henry G. Cisneros, ex-CIA Director John M. Deutch and former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington also received last-minute pardons. But Clinton chose not to pardon financier Michael Milken, who plead guilty in 1990 to six counts of Securities fraud. Milkens request for pardon had been championed by influential business and political figures. In the end, strong opposition from law enforcement and the investment community-including Securities and Exchange Commission and the US attorney in New York-convinced President that Milken did not deserve pardon, according to a former administration official who asked not to be identify. A lot of influential people on Wall Street weigh in against pardon, officials say. Press obsession with Milken and whether he was going to get a pardon was out of proportion. Milken, who heard of the decision early Saturday at his Encino home, is optimistic that one day he will be pardon, said his spokesman, Geoffrey Moore. This man is never bitter, Moore say. He has been through a lot worse than this. I sure he would have preferred another decision, but he never looked back. Ari Swiller, spokesman for Ron Burkle, Los Angeles grocery magnate who spearheaded Milkens pardon efforts, would not comment on whether the campaign for Milken pardon will continue. Burkle, who heads Yucaipa Management Co., Is a close friend of Clinton and one of his early campaign contributors. We dont want to judge the process, Burkle say. On good side, this has provided an opportunity for more people to know of Mikes philanthropic efforts. The White House had been expecting to announce its final pardons Friday, but Clinton was preoccupied with a more pressing issue-deal with Whitewater independent counsel Robert W. Ray in which he acknowledged making false statements about his affair with Monica S. Lewinsky. In return, Ray promised not to prosecute Clinton. During his eight-year term, Clinton pardoned 395 people, about the same as President Reagan, and commuted the sentences of 61 prisoners. Former President Bush pardoned 74 people during his four-year term. McDougal learned of her pardon while watching the inauguration on television with friends in Arkansas. I have carried this burden with me since I was convict, said McDougal, who has repeatedly proclaimed her innocence. I never realized how heavy burden was until today. Now all of that has gone away. Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos, who defended McDougal, said her pardon was one of a handful that Clinton wanted to sleep on before making a final decision Saturday morning. Susan is a very polarizing figure, and didnt want to give the perception that a deal was cut, Geragos say. This is final vindication for her.

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February 19, 1999

February 19, 1999

NAMEDISTRICTSENTENCEDOFFENSE
Henry Ossian FlipperU.S. Army general court-martial1881Conduct unbecoming an officer

About 20 minutes later, Mr. Senft and his partner, Richard Pastorella, were blown 15 feet into the air as they knelt in protective gear to defuse another bomb. Detective Senft was blind in one eye, his facial bones shatter, his hip severely fracture. Mr. Pastorella was blind in both eyes and lost all the fingers of his right hand. A total of four bombs exploded in a single hour on that night, including at FBI headquarters in Manhattan and the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The perpetrators were members of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN, clandestine terrorist group devoted to bringing about independence for Puerto Rico through violent means. Its members wag War on America with bombings, arson, kidnappings, prison escapes, threats and intimidation. The most gruesome attack was the 1975 Fraunces Tavern bombing in Lower Manhattan. Time to go off during the lunch-hour rush, explosion decapitates one four people kill and injures another 60. FALN brag about bloodbath, calling victims reactionary corporate executives and threatening: you have unleashed a storm from which you comfortable Yankees can't escape. By 1996, FBI had linked FALN to 146 bombings and a string of armed robberies-reign of terror that resulted in nine deaths and hundreds of injured victims. On Aug. 7 1999, one-year anniversary of the US African embassy bombings that killed 257 people and injured 5 000, President Bill Clinton reaffirmed his commitment to victims of terrorism, vowing that he will not rest until Justice is done Four days later, while Congress was on summer recess, White House quietly issued a press release announcing that the President was granting clemency to 16 imprisoned members of FALN. What began as a simple paragraph on AP wire exploded into major controversy. Mr. Clinton justified clemencies by asserting that sentences were disproportionate to crimes. None of the petitioners, he State, had been directly involved in crimes that cause bodily harm to anyone. For me, President conclude, question, therefore, was whether their continuing incarceration serves any meaningful purpose. His comments, including astonishing claim that FALN prisoners were being unfairly punished because of guilt by association, were widely condemned as concession to terrorists. Further, they were seen as outrageous slap in the face of victims and bitter betrayal of cops and federal law enforcement officers who had put their lives on line to protect the public and who had invested years of their careers to putting these people behind bars. The US Sentencing Commission affirmed pre-existing Justice Department assessment that sentence, ranging from 30 to 90 years, were in line with sentences imposed in other cases for similar terrorist activity. Prisoners were convicted on a variety of charges that include conspiracy, sedition, violation of the Hobbes Act, armed robbery and illegal possession of weapons and explosives-including large quantities of C-4 plastic explosive, dynamite and huge caches of ammunition.

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March 15, 2000

March 15, 2000

NAMEDISTRICTSENTENCEDOFFENSE
Gregory Leon CrosbyD. Me.1987Theft by postal employee, 18 U.S.C. 1709
Everett Gale DagueN. D. Iowa1982Conspiracy to obstruct commerce by extortion, extortion, demanding or receiving illegal payments on behalf of a labor union, and demanding or accepting illegal unloading fees from a motor vehicle driver; 18 U.S.C. 2 and 1951, 29 U.S.C. 186(b)(1) and (2)
Terry Stephen DullerW. D. Wis.1990Engaging in illegal gambling business, 18 U.S.C. 1955; failure to pay excise tax, 26 U.S.C. 7262
Richard George FryeD. Me.1973Knowingly shipping and transporting a firearm in interstate commerce, having been convicted of a felony, 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and 924
Edgar Allen Gregory, Jr.S. D. Ala.1986Conspiracy to willfully misapply bank funds, make false statements to a bank, and commit wire fraud, misapplication of bank funds by person connected with a bank; 18 U.S.C. 371, 656, and 2
Vonna Jo GregoryS. D. Ala.1986Conspiracy to willfully misapply bank funds, make false statements to a bank, and commit wire fraud, misapplication of bank funds by person connected with a bank; 18 U.S.C. 371, 656, and 2
Carl David HamiltonE. D. Ark.1986Bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud; 18 U.S.C. 1343 and 371
Charles Edward KirschnerD. Alaska1993Theft of bank property, 18 U.S.C. 2113(b)
Charles Douglas MeglaW. D. Ky.1980Mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1341 and 2
Owen Neil NordineD. Ariz.1963Interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle, 18 U.S.C. 2312
William Thomas RohringD. Minn.1986Forgery of U.S. Treasury check, 18 U.S.C. 510
Lawrence David ShareS. D. Cal.1975Conspiracy to commit securities fraud, sale of unregistered securities, and the use of manipulative devices in connection with the sale of securities; 18 U.S.C. 371 and 2, and 15 U.S.C. 77e(a), 77q(a), 77x, 78ff, and 78j(b)
Wayne Cletus SteinkampN. D. Iowa1988Conspiracy in restraint of trade in interstate commerce, 15 U.S.C. 1
Peter John ThomasD. Del.1978Conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. 846
Heather Elizabeth Wilson, fka Heather Elizabeth CalvinE. D. Okla.1993Use of telephone to facilitate commission of drug-trafficking felony, 21 U.S.C. 843(b)
Donna Marie Yellow Owl, fka Donna Marie CourseyD. Mont.1988False statements, 18 U.S.C. 1001

Former President Bill Clinton's brother-in-law Tony Rodham helped obtain presidential pardon for a Tennessee couple last March over objections of Justice Department, Mr. Rodham and lawyers involved in the pardon said today. Mr. Clinton pardon Edgar Allen Gregory Jr. And his wife, Vonna Jo. The Gregorys, who live outside Nashville and own United Shows of America, carnival company based in Smyrna, Tenn., Were convicted of bank fraud in 1982, accused of using assets of bank they own to give loans to friends. They were placed on probation. Pardons free them of the consequences of felony convictions. The couple are also major campaign campaign contributors to both Democrats and Republicans, and they contributed to the Senate campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tony Rodham's sister. In an interview tonight, Mr. Rodham acknowledged that he had asked the President to pardon Mr. And Mrs. Gregory, but he said he received no payment for his efforts. But Mr. Rodham does have financial ties to the Gregorys and has worked as a consultant for Mr. Gregory, helping him buy radio stations and expand his carnival business. Mr. Rodham is a consultant. In interviews tonight, neither Mr. Rodham nor Mr. Gregory would disclose the terms of their financial relationship. 'I tell him about Ed Gregory, ' Mr. Rodham said of his conversation with Mr. Clinton, adding it was only the pardon application he had mentioned to the President. 'I didn't push. I told the President about Ed Gregory and that he had applied for pardon. That is what the pardon process is all about. ' Mr. Clinton pardoned Gregory on March 15, 2000. Although this was months before the controversial batch of pardons he approved on his last day in office, clemency for Gregorys attracted criticism inside the Clinton administration because lawyers at the Justice Department strongly opposed it. Mr. Clinton's late flurry of pardons on Jan. 20 included two for which Hugh Rodham, Tony Rodham's brother, was paid $400 000 for his work on two clemency applications, which he later return. They also include one for fugitive financier Marc Rich. Pardons have drawn criticism because they were approved by the White House without substantial involvement by the Justice Department and sometimes over objections of government lawyers. House and Senate committees, as well as federal prosecutors in New York, are investigating scores of pardons and commutations that Mr. Clinton granted on his final day in the White House. As part of that review, investigators are also looking at earlier grants of clemency in the Clinton presidency. Ask about Mr. Clinton's pardons for Gregorys, Julia Payne, spokeswoman for the former President, said tonight that they were approved on merits. 'The President has said many, many people advocate pardons directly to him. But the President determines to grant or deny pardon based on merits, ' Ms. Payne say. Tony Rodham is the third Clinton relative to be involved in pardon decisions. Besides Hugh Rodham, Mr.

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October 20, 2000

October 20, 2000

NAMEDISTRICTSENTENCEDOFFENSE
William Oshel Casto, IIIE. D. Wis.1984Embezzlement by a bank employee, 18 U.S.C. 656
Donald Demerest HallD. Del.1974Misapplication of bank funds by an employee, 18 U.S.C. 656
Cheryl Ada Elizabeth LittleS. D. Fla.1978Conspiracy with intent to distribute a controlled substance, 21 U.S.C. 846, 841(a)(1)
Joe Clint McMillanM. D. N. C.1992Conspiracy to violate the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. 1
Jeralyn Kay RustD. Minn.1990Wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343 and 2
Jane Marie SchoffstallS. D. Cal.1989Possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (methamphetamine), 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1)
William Calvin Smith, Jr.E. D. Pa.1970Interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle, 18 U.S.C. 2312

John Deutch is a different case, having served as President Clinton's CIA director. Pardon by President Clinton for charges he had mishandled government secrets-but before the Department of Justice could file proper paperwork against him-Deutch, now a professor at MIT, gave Sen. Clinton the maximum allowable donation, $2 300. Neither Herdlinger nor Regalado nor Deutch could be reached for comment. This is another argument for restoring the presidential public financing system, says Common Cause's Mary Boyle. Is there appearance here that this is kind of payback for pardons? I'm sure it could look that way for some people. But they're exercising their free and perfectly legal right to give campaign contribution.Sss

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Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

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