Roger Stone joins list of political figures, allies granted clemency by Trump


Roger Stone joined a list of political figures and White House allies who have avoided jail time after President Trump commuted his more than three-year sentence Friday, sparking new criticism that Trump was protecting his friends and associates.

Stone was convicted last year of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of official proceeding. He was due to report to prison Tuesday for three years and four months before Trump stepped in to commute his sentence. 

Trump defended the commutation, claiming Stone had been the victim of overzealous prosecutors who were investigating Russia’s election meddling. 

But the move sparked an uproar on Capitol Hill, with Democrats accusing the White House of sidestepping the justice system to help the president’s allies. 

“The American ideal of equal justice under the law is once again being undermined by a lawless president who regards the Justice Department as his personal plaything,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). 

“Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” GOP Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) added Saturday morning

Stone joins a list of several people who’ve been granted clemency or pardons. Here’s a list of some people who’ve avoided jail time or had their time behind bars cut short by the White House.

Joe Arpaio

Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio in August 2017 after the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., was found guilty in a Justice Department investigation of racially profiling Latinos. Arpaio was specifically convicted of criminal contempt for disobeying a federal judge’s order on detaining individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

In announcing the pardon, the White House said Arpaio “continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration” and noted that he was 85 years old at the time.

Scooter Libby 

Trump pardoned Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former George W. Bush administration official, in April 2018.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the probe into the disclosure of the identity of former covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. While Libby was not known to be personally close to Trump, he still had a deep well of support among Republicans. 

“I don’t know Mr. Libby, but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly,” Trump said in a statement at the time. “Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.” 

Dinesh D’Souza 

Trump pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza in May 2018 after he was convicted of making illegal campaign contributions.

D’Souza has a loyal following among some conservative activists and had been sentenced to serve five years behind bars for illegally using straw donors to support Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long in 2012.

The White House issued a statement explaining that Trump believed D’Souza was the “victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign finance laws” and that he “accepted responsibility for his actions.”

Conrad Black

Trump granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, a British citizen who served as the chief executive of Hollinger International, in May 2019. 

Black was convicted in 2007 of three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice and had spent 3 ½ years in prison. Two of his three fraud convictions were later overturned.

Patrick Nolan

Patrick Nolan, the former Republican leader of the California State Assembly, received his pardon on the same day as Black.

Nolan was convicted in the 1990s in an FBI sting after he was secretly recorded accepting checks from an undercover FBI agent. He was ultimately charged with using his political office to solicit illegal campaign contributions and served 25 months in prison.

Rod Blagojevich 

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) was granted clemency in February after serving about eight years in prison for convictions on several corruption charges, including attempted extortion of a children’s hospital for campaign contributions and trying to sell former President Obama’s Senate seat after he was elected to the White House in 2008.

“I did commute [Blagojevich’s] sentence. So he’ll be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail,” Trump told reporters after he cut short Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence. “That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence in my opinion, and in the opinion of many others.”

Blagojevich later said he would support Trump in the 2020 election.

Michael Milken

Trump pardoned financier Michael Milken in February. Milken had pleaded guilty in 1990 to six counts of securities and tax violations and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, though his sentence was later reduced to two years for his cooperation with federal officials. 

The White House referenced his funding for cancer research after his release in announcing the pardon. 

“Mr. Milken’s philanthropy has been particularly influential in the fight against prostate cancer and has been credited with saving many lives,” the White House said.

Paul Harvey Pogue 

Paul Harvey Pogue, who founded Pogue Construction near Dallas, was also pardoned in February after pleading guilty in 2010 to filing a false tax return. He was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $250,000 in fines and more than $473,000 in restitution. 

Ariel Friedler 

Ariel Friedler, the former CEO of Symplicity Corp, was granted clemency in February after a lobbying campaign by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Friedler pled guilty in 2014 to conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization and served two months in prison.

“Ariel Friedler is a good man & I am proud to represent him, along with Senator Jeff Chiesa, to seek the justice that only a pardon could provide. Chris Christie asked Trump to pardon this former CEO. The president just did,” Christie said at the time.

Tags Charles Schumer Clemency Donald Trump Donald Trump Jeff Chiesa Joe Arpaio Mitt Romney pardons Rod Blagojevich Roger Stone Roger Stone
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