President Trump Announces Pardons For Corrupt Officials
Joint Base Andrews, MD – President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he would pardon former New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Bernard Kerik and commute the sentence of former Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Earlier in the day, President Trump signed an executive order that granted a full pardon to former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., NBC News reported.
Kerik served three years of a four-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion and lying to officials in 2010.
He served as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s bodyguard during his 1993 mayoral campaign and was NYPD commissioner when planes slammed into the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
His performance during that national tragedy later earned him a nomination by President George Bush to be Secretary of Homeland Security in 2004, NBC News reported.
But it was that nomination that was the beginning of his downfall after it was revealed that he had employed an illegal nanny and failed to report that he had accepted money and gifts while he was police commissioner.
President Trump said Giuliani, who is now one of his personal attorneys, had advocated strongly on behalf of Kerik.
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was impeached and then convicted of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been vacated by President Barack Obama, according to NBC News.
Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison in 2011, which President Trump called "a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence."
"He served eight years in jail, a long time," the president told reporters at media briefing at Joint Base Andrews before he left for California on Air Force One. "I don't know him very well. I met him a couple of times. He was on for a short while on the Apprentice some years ago. He seems like a very nice person, I don’t know him."
Blagojevich lasted four episodes on Celebrity Apprentice before he got fired for tanking a Harry Potter presentation, NBC News reported.
President Trump said he was basing most of his pardon decisions on the recommendations of smart people who had advocated on behalf of those convicted.
The President also pardoned Michael Milken, a financier and philanthropist who pleaded guilty to racketeering and fraud in 1990 for violating trading laws, NBC News reported.
He mentioned the “incredible job” that Milken has done funding cancer research worldwide and said many luminaries had lobbied in support of his pardon.
Giuliani also advocated on behalf of Milken’s pardon, but so did House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), media baron Rupert Murdoch, casino operator Sheldon Adelson, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, NBC News reported.
“Since his release, Mr. Milken has dedicated his life to philanthropy, continuing charitable work that he began before his indictment,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “Over the years, Mr. Milken — either personally or through foundations he created — has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in critical funding to medical research, education, and disadvantaged children. Mr. Milken’s philanthropy has been particularly influential in the fight against prostate cancer and has been credited with saving many lives.”