Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump may pardon deceased boxing great Muhammad Ali

Trump may pardon deceased boxing great Muhammad Ali

The existence of the list was reported shortly after Trump pardoned a grandmother serving a life sentence whose cause Kim Kardiahian West had championed. The unanimous decision overturned Ali's 1967 conviction, meaning his application for conscientious objector status should have been granted and he was not a draft dodger.

When Ali appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court for the final time in 1971, liberal stalwart Justice William Brennan convinced his colleagues to hear the case.

"I would get more thrill out of pardoning people nobody has heard of, like Alice yesterday", said Trump, referring to his commutation of Alice Johnson, a woman who served more than 20 years on a first-time drug charge. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and boxer Jack Johnson most recently, conservative author Dinesh D'Souza. "I'm thinking about Muhammad Ali", according to a pool report of the president's remarks.

Ali's attorney Ron Tweel released a statement Friday saying "there is no conviction from which a pardon is needed".

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Jeffrey Couch, a law professor at American University and the author of a book on presidential pardons, questioned why Trump was undertaking the legal project now.

"He was, look, he was not very popular then, certainly his memory is popular now", Trump said. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction for resisting the draft in 1971.

Trump told reporters that the legendary boxer is just one of 3,000 names he's considering pardoning, because "many of those names really have been treated unfairly". Instead, White House officials say, Trump has focused on individual cases that have caught his attention or been brought to him by friends or celebrities. "I want to do people who are unfairly treated like Alice [Marie Johnson]". Ali had no criminal convictions that need pardoning. "We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda", Ali said. For futures acts of clemency, he may seek recommendations from pro football players and other athletes who have protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.

A reporter then inquired whether the person Trump was talking about was O.J. Simpson, prompting Trump to quip, "No, I'm not talking about O.J ... I knew that if I have this meeting, I can't go in there and talk about all the policies that I don't agree with", she said.

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