Published: Wed, February 19, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump says he pardoned former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik

Trump says he pardoned former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik

President Trump has pardoned former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik amid a rash of pardons and commuted sentences issued Tuesday.

In all, Trump took clemency actions related to 11 people, his latest interventions in the justice system as he is under growing fire for weighing in on the cases of former aides.

Blagojevich was convicted in 2011 of trying to extract a personal benefit from appointing a replacement for then-President-Elect Obama to the U.S. Senate after the 2008 election. It was a prosecution by the same people - Comey, Fitzpatrick - the same group.

- August 8, 2019: Trump tweets that the White House is still reviewing the possibility of commuting Blagojevich's sentence.Trump broaches the issue several times in proceeding months.

Trump also pardoned Kerik, who served just over three years for tax fraud and lying to the White House while being interviewed to serve as homeland security secretary.

The White House announced that he had signed an executive order pardoning former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and later Tuesday, Trump said he would pardon NY police commissioner Bernie Kerik.

The White House hailed Milken for having "democratized corporate finance by providing women and minorities access to capital that would have been unavailable to them otherwise".

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he was granting clemency to Michael Milken, the legendary bond king from the 1980s who served several years in prison for violating securities laws and has since become a prominent philanthropist. "I haven't given it any thought ... but I think he's being treated unfairly", Trump said. "I would think that there have been many politicians - I'm not one of them, by the way - that have said a lot worse over the telephone". For instance, Nelson Peltz, the billionaire who threw Trump a fundraiser last weekend, backed pardoning Milken, along with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Fox host Maria Bartiromo, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a range of Trump's NY friends and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

"He's not saying it's OK", says Hart, referring to the president's attitude towards Blagojevich's offences. And he predicted that, following Trump's acquittal by the Republican-controlled Senate, "outrageous abuses like these will accelerate and worsen".

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The 11 clemencies mark the largest number Trump has granted at a time, but they barely make a dent in the record-setting backlog of almost 13,000 people now waiting for responses to their requests.

Milken was sentenced to ten years in prison in 1990 and served 22 months. They include Crystal Munoz, who has spent the last 12 years in prison after being convicted on marijuana charges. "I saw that and I did commute his sentence".

Blagojevich's wife, Patti, had lobbied the president hard on her husband's behalf. Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani, a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of NY, was one of the main prosecutors at that time, going after white collar criminals like Milken.

When Trump publicly broached the idea in May 2018 of intervening to free Blagojevich, he played down the former governor's crimes.

She says the president's public views of Blagojevich "helps to create this culture in politics where loyalty is valued over ethics, and where corruption is not necessarily a negative thing".

Going back to before he won the White House, Trump has been expressing sympathy for Blagojevich, who was convicted of flagrant corruption.

Debartolo pleaded guilty in 1998 to concealing an alleged extortion plot by former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, involving the licensing of a casino. Now that impeachment is over, he said, he expects Trump to moved forward with additional pardons.

"We finally get to breathe for the first time before something else comes", he said.

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