Trump's America

Trump Pardons White-Collar Criminals, Including Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

On Tuesday, the White House announced the president's decision to grant clemency to 11 high-profile individuals who pleaded guilty to crimes in the past.

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President Trump granted pardons and sentence commutations to several high-profile individuals who previously pleaded guilty to white-collar crimes including Michael Milken, Bernard Kerik, and Rod Blagojevich. Details regarding the president’s clemency decisions were announced on Tuesday.

Among the 11 individuals pardoned was former “junk bond king,” Michael Milken, who was indicted in 1989 for racketeering and securities fraud. In addition to a 10-year prison sentence that was later reduced to two, Milken was also banned for life from working in the securities industry, a ban that still stands despite his pardon

Bernard Kerik was a once-revered New York police commissioner who headed the department during the September 11 terrorist attacks. After George W. Bush nominated Kerik to lead the Department of Homeland Security in 2004, allegations began to emerge about him, which eventually led to him pleading guilty to eight felony charges, which included tax fraud and lying to White House officials. After his pardoning, Kerik sent a tweet, thanking Trump. 

Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and Rod Blagojevich were also part of the pardoned group. DeBartolo, a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, was convicted in 1998 after paying a $400,000 bribe for a casino license. But the White House press statement called him “a generous philanthropist and passionate supporter of numerous charitable causes.” Blagojevich previously served as the 40th governor of Illinois, but was impeached in 2009 for abuse of power and corruption.

Trump has also recently floated the prospect of commuting the sentence of Roger Stone, the president’s longtime adviser who was convicted in November of seven felony charges including lying under oath during the congressional inquiry into Russia’s potential 2016 collusion with Trump. Stone’s sentencing is expected to take place on Thursday.