Friday, 16 November, 2018

President considers commuting former Illinois Governor's sentence

Zach D Roberts  AP Zach D Roberts AP
Patty Aguilar | 01 June, 2018, 10:10

Trump's comments came aboard Air Force One on Thursday after he announced on Twitter that he planned to pardon conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza.

Donald Trump told reporters today that he is considering two new people to pardon today: Rod Blagojevich and Martha Stewart.

She was convicted on felony charges related to insider trading back in 2004, and served five months in prison.

Trump told reporters that while Blagojevich was "stupid" for what he said, he felt the sentence was too harsh.

Blagojevich a Democrat, began serving a 14-year prison sentence on corruption convictions in 2012 in a Colorado prison.

Critics also speculated Trump was dangling the promises of pardons in front of his lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, if they refuse pressure to flip on him. "But that's okay, I don't view it that way".

Trump last week posthumously pardoned boxer Jack Johnson, the first black world heavyweight champion, who was jailed a century ago because of his relationship with a white woman. "So I respect that", Trump said on the show.

Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison for lying about a stock sale and was prosecuted by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey who was then the USA attorney for the Southern District of NY.

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Trump has bashed Comey ever since firing him just over a year ago, accusing him of lying to Congress and failing to properly investigate former political foe, Hillary Clinton. "If you read his statement, it was a foolish statement with a lot of bravado".

Blagojevich was facing charges when he was on Trump's reality TV show, "Celebrity Apprentice", in 2010.

Attorneys Deborah Blum and Seth Berenzweig on President Trump considering pardons for Martha Stewart and Rod Blagojevich and the fallout from ABC canceling Roseanne.

"Nonetheless, he's accepted responsibility and the president thinks it's appropriate that he receive a pardon after community service, paying a fine and doing other things that the judge has required", Shah said.

Trump, though, she added, is giving her hope that this time it may work out.

'Mr. D'Souza accepted responsibility for his actions, and also completed community service by teaching English to citizens and immigrants seeking citizenship'.

The filmmaker, author and speaker was sentenced in September 2014 in federal court in NY to five years of probation after he admitted making illegal contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate in NY.

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