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A look at pardons, clemency in waning weeks of Trump tenure

President Trump at a round table meeting on education in Washington, DC, on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.
President Trump at a round table meeting on education in Washington, DC, on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the waning weeks of his presidency, Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a slew of pardons and commutations, including former members of Congress convicted of corruption charges, several people charged in the Russia investigation that shadowed his presidency and former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more a dozen Iraqi civilians dead.

Here’s a look at the 49 people issued pardons or commutations on Tuesday and Wednesday:

WEDNESDAY PARDONS

PAUL MANAFORT

Manafort was Trump’s former campaign chairman and was among the first people to be charged in Mueller’s investigation, which examined possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election campaign. He was released from a low-security federal prison in May to serve his sentence on home confinement due to concerns about the coronavirus. Prior to his release, he had been jailed since June 2018 and was serving more than seven years in prison following his conviction.

Manafort was prosecuted in two federal courts and was convicted by a jury in federal court in Virginia in 2018 and later pleaded guilty in Washington. He was sentenced last March and was immediately hit with state charges in New York after prosecutors accused him of giving false information on a mortgage loan application. A New York judge threw out state mortgage fraud charges, ruling that the criminal case was too similar to one that already landed Manafort in prison. Prosecutors appealed that ruling last month.

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ROGER STONE

Stone has been a longtime friend and ally of the president. He was also convicted in Mueller’s investigation for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

Trump commuted his sentence in July just days before he was scheduled to report to federal prison. On Wednesday, he issued Stone a full pardon.

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Pardoning Manafort and Stone underscores the president’s lingering rage over Mueller’s investigation and is part of a continuing effort by the president to rewrite the narrative of a probe that shadowed his presidency for two years.

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CHARLES KUSHNER

Kushner is the father of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and a wealthy real estate executive who pleaded guilty years ago to tax evasion and making illegal campaign donations. The two knew each other from real estate circles and their children were married in 2009. Trump issued him a full pardon on Wednesday.

Kushner, who is from New Jersey, pleaded guilty to 18 counts that also included witness tampering and was sentenced in 2005 to two years in prison, but emerged to resume his career in real estate and his company Kushner Cos. purchased the famed Watchtower complex along the Brooklyn Bridge, the former headquarters for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Kushner was also a major Democratic donor, and agreed to pay $508, 900 to the Federal Election Commission after he violated contribution regulations by failing to obtain an OK from partners to whom more than $500,000 in campaign contributions were attributed. But he donated more than $100,000 to Trump’s 2015 campaign.

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MARGARET HUNTER

Hunter is the wife of former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, who Trump pardoned on Tuesday. Along with her husband, she was also convicted of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds and was sentenced to three years of probation. Her husband, a Southern California Republican, had pleaded guilty to stealing about $150,000 from his campaign funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle, from vacations to outings with friends, private school tuition and his daughter’s birthday party.

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JOHN TATE AND JESSE BENTON

The men were top staffers on Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and convicted in 2016 of causing false records and campaign expenditure reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission. Prosecutors said Tate, Benton and a third campaign official tried to hide $73,000 in payments to former Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson for his endorsement of Paul. They argue that they broke no laws when they concealed the payments through a third-party campaign vendor.

The White House said the pardons were supported by a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and by Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky who is also the son of Ron Paul.

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STEPHANIE MOHR

The former Maryland police officer was convicted in 2001 of violating a homeless man’s civil rights by letting her police dog attack him even though he had surrendered. Prosecutors said after the man had surrendered, Mohr released her police dog and the canine bit into the man’s leg, requiring ten stitches. Mohr, the first canine handler in the Prince George’s County police force, served 10 years in prison.

She was convicted of violating the man’s civil rights under the color of authority; another officer who faced trial in the case was acquitted.

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GARY BRUGMAN

The former U.S. Border Patrol agent was convicted of striking and violating the civil rights of a man who had crossed the U.S. border illegally. Court records said Brugman and other Border Patrol officers had stopped a group of people who crossed the border illegally and during the encounter, he struck one of the men with his foot, pushing him to the ground and then hit the man with his hands.

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The man later filed a complaint when he was in custody at a Border Patrol station. Brugman had worked as a Border Patrol agent for four years in Eagle Pass, Texas.

He served 27 months in prison. The White House said his pardon was supported by several Republican members of Congress and conservative media personalities, including Laura Ingraham, Sara Carter, Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs, along with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who also was convicted of a federal crime and pardoned by Trump.

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MARY MCCARTY

McCarty, a former county commissioner in Palm Beach County, Florida, was issued a full pardon on Wednesday. She was convicted of a federal criminal charge for honest services fraud.

When she was convicted, prosecutors said she had misused her position as a county commissioner to “personally enrich herself, her husband, and their associates through a series of municipal bond transactions” and by receiving gifts and gratuities from people doing business with the Board of County Commissioners.

The White House said her pardon was supported by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media.

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MARK SILJANDER

The former Southwest Michigan congressman was convicted of obstructing justice and failing to register as a foreign agent. He was sentenced to serve more than a year in prison after being accused of accepting stolen funds on behalf of a Missouri charity with alleged terrorism ties.

Prosecutors said an associate had conspired to hire Siljander to lobby for the charity’s removal from a government list of charities suspected of funding international terrorism. The charity closed in October 2004 after being designated a global terrorist organization by the U.S. government

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CHRISTOPHER II X, FORMERLY CHRISTOPHER ANTHONY BRYANT

The prominent community leader in Louisville, Kentucky, was issued a full pardon for his conviction on federal drug charges. He was also issued a pardon by Kentucky’s governor for state offenses in 2019.

The White House said he has been a “powerful example of the possibility of redemption,” pointing to his struggle to overcome drug addiction and his work with nonprofit and community groups in Kentucky.

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ROBERT COUGHLIN

Coughlin worked in the Justice Department and was convicted of a conflict of interest charge for his role in the influence peddling scandal surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He admitted in court in 2009 that he provided assistance to Abramoff’s lobbying team and its clients while accepting free meals and drinks and tickets to sporting events and concerts from Abramoff lobbying partner Kevin Ring. He was issued a full pardon.

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JOSEPH OCCHIPINTI

Occhipinti was an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service when he was convicted in 1991 of conspiracy to violate civil rights under the color of law and making false statements. Authorities charged that he illegally detained and searched Hispanic store owners in New York City and then made false statements to cover-up those activities. His sentence was commuted after seven months in prison by President George H.W. Bush. The White House said he had earned 76 commendations during his career, including from three attorneys general.

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RICKEY KANTER

Kanter founded a company known as Dr. Comfort, selling special shoes and inserts for diabetics, and was convicted of mail fraud tied to illegal Medicare reimbursements. He was sentenced to serve a year and a day in federal prison. He had also paid a multimillion-dollar civil fine. Federal prosecutors said his diabetic shoe inserts did not meet Medicare requirements, but they were sold to Medicare beneficiaries and the company was reimbursed by the federal government.

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DANIELA GOZES-WAGNER

The Houston woman was convicted in a $50 million health care fraud scheme in 2017. Federal prosecutors said she conspired with others to falsely bill Medicare and Medicaid for millions of dollars’ worth of medical tests that were either unnecessary or just never performed. She received a sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and was ordered to pay $15.2 million in restitution. The president commuted her sentence; the White House said the commutation was supported by several former U.S. attorneys general.

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MARK SHAPIRO AND IRVING STITSKY

Trump commuted Shapiro and Stitsky’s sentences after they were convicted in federal court in New York of defrauding more than 250 people in a $23 million real estate scam. Both men were convicted and sentenced to serve 85 years in federal prison. Prosecutors said Stitsky and Shapiro also diverted millions of dollars of investor funds for their own benefit.

The White House said the men had been offered plea deals to serve no more than nine years but had turned them down and chose instead to go to trial. A White House news release praised the men as “model prisoners,” who had earned support and praise from other inmates.

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TOPEKA SAM

Sam, now a criminal justice advocate who helped work on a bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that Trump often touts, was convicted of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and served three years of a more than 10-year prison sentence. She was in the White House when Trump signed the overhaul measure, known as the First Step Act, into law. Sam posted a video on Twitter shortly after the pardon was announced, thanking Trump, and saying, “this is all so surreal.”

Her case had been championed by other criminal justice reform advocates like Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence Trump commuted in 2018 at the urging of reality TV star Kim Kardashian West.

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JAMES BATMASIAN

Batmasian is a real-estate investor and runs property management companies in South Florida. He pleaded guilty to cheating the federal government out of more than $250,000 by failing to pay federal taxes for employees at his company. He was an influential developer and at the time was one of the largest landowners in Boca Raton, Florida. He served an eight-month prison sentence.

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CESAR LOZADA

Lozada was convicted of conspiring to distribute marijuana and served a 14-month prison sentence. He was granted a full pardon. The White House said Lozada is an immigrant from Cuba who started a pool cleaning business near Miami, Florida, and employs dozens of people.

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JOSEPH MARTIN STEPEHNS

Stephens pleaded guilty in 2008 to being a felon in possession a firearm, a federal offense. He has previously been convicted of a felony offense in 1991, when he was 19 years old, the White House said. He served 18 months in prison and was issued a full pardon on Wednesday.

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ANDREW BARRON WORDEN

Wordon, who runs an investment firm and a solar energy company, was convicted of wire fraud in 1998. The White House said he “made mistakes in running an investment firm he founded.” Records from the Securities and Exchange Commission show Worden was accused of defrauding several brokerage firms out of more than $130,000. He was issued a full pardon. The White House said Worden had begun to repay his victims before criminal charges were filed.

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JOHN BOULTBEE, PETER ATKINSON

The two men were senior executives at Hollinger International and associates of media tycoon Conrad Black. Boultbee and Atkinson were found guilty of three counts of mail fraud and each served a year in prison.

Black was a co-defendant in the case and was also convicted; Trump previously pardoned him.

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REBEKAH CHARLESTON

Charleston was arrested in 2006 for tax evasion and the White House said she is a victim of sex trafficking who was forced into prostitution. Officials said she volunteers to help sex trafficking victims and her pardon was also supported by a law enforcement agent who arrested her.

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WILLIAM J. PLEMONS JR.

The White House said Plemons was convicted of various financial crimes in the late 1990s and early 2000s and served 27 months in federal prison. Officials said he served in the Air Force and supported several charitable organizations.

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JAMES KASSOUF

Kassouf pleaded guilty in 1989 to a federal tax offense. The White House said that since his convicted, he has been devoted to his church, fire department and works with charitable organizations.

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CHRISTOPHER WADE

The White House said Wade was convicted of multiple cyber-related offenses and has “shown remorse and sought to make his community a safer place.” He was issued a full pardon.

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RUSSELL PLAISANCE

Trump granted a posthumous pardon for Plaisance, who was convicted of conspiracy to important cocaine from a 1987 case, which the White House said stemmed from “one conversation in which he participated.” A White House news release cited the judge who presided over his sentencing saying that the actions were inconsistent with Plaisance’s life history and character. Officials said he has built a tugboat business that has seven vessels and employs 50 people. The White House said the prosecutors involved in his case did not object to the pardon.

TUESDAY PARDONS

FORMER REP. CHRIS COLLINS:

Collins, a Republican from New York, was sentenced to serve two months in federal prison after he admitted to helping his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses when he learned that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed. He was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s presidency.

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EX-REP. DUNCAN HUNTER:

Hunter, a Southern California Republican, was sentenced in March to 11 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing about $150,000 from his campaign funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle, from vacations to outings with friends, private school tuition and his daughter’s birthday party.

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GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS AND ALEXANDER VAN DER ZWAAN:

Papadopoulos and van der Zwaan were both convicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Papadopoulos was the first Trump aide to plead guilty as part of Mueller’s investigation – pleading guilty to lying to the FBI – and served a nearly two-week sentence in federal prison. He was a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign and admitted lying about a 2016 conversation with a Maltese professor who told him that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of stolen emails. He had learned from the professor, Joseph Mifsud, that Russia had thousands of stolen emails during a meeting in April 2016 in London. That revelation helped trigger the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, which later morphed into part of Mueller’s probe.

Van der Zwaan was a Dutch lawyer who was fired from a prominent international law firm and admitted he lied to federal investigators about his interactions with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who was also charged in Mueller’s investigation. Van der Zwaan had been sentenced to 30 days in prison

He and Papadopoulos became the third and fourth defendants in the Russia probe to be granted clemency

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NICHOLAS SLATTEN, PAUL SLOUGH, EVAN LIBERTY AND DUSTIN HEARD:

The four men were government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone. They were all serving lengthy prison sentences.

Prosecutors alleged the men, former veterans working as contractors for the State Department, launched an unprovoked attack in a busy traffic circle using sniper fire, machine guns and grenade launchers in September 2007 in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. Defense lawyers argued their clients returned fire after being ambushed by Iraqi insurgents.

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STEVE STOCKMAN:

The former Texas Congressman was convicted of conspiring to bilk at least $775,000 from conservative foundations that intended the donations for charities and voter education. Prosecutors said Stockman, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 until 1997, and from 2013 until 2015, misused donations from the foundations for personal and political use. He failed in his 2014 bid for the U.S. Senate. The White House said Stockman had contracted coronavirus while in federal prison and has served more than two years of his 10-year sentence. Officials said he will still be required to serve some time under supervised release and pay about $1 million in restitution.

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IGNACIO RAMOS AND JOSE COMPEAN:

Trump granted full pardons to Ramos and Compean, former U.S. Border Patrol agents who were convicted of shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler near El Paso, Texas in 2005. Investigators said the agents never reported the shooting and tried to cover it up. They were convicted of assault and firearm charges and a judge in 2006 sentenced Ramos to 11 years in prison and Compean to 12 years. They were freed in 2009 after then-President George W. Bush commuted their sentences.

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PHIL LYMAN:

Lyman, a Republican from Utah who currently serves as a state representative, served 10 days in prison after he led a protest of about 50 ATV riders in a canyon home to Native American cliff dwellings that officials closed to motorized traffic. It came amid a push against federal control of large swaths of land and happened in the wake of an armed confrontation that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy had with Bureau of Land Management over grazing fees. The Trump administration in 2017 lifted a ban on motorized vehicles in parts of the canyon but left restrictions in place through other areas where Lyman led his ride.

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WELDON ANGELOS:

Angelos was 24 years old when he was sentenced in 2004 to 55 years in prison for bringing guns to marijuana deals, a sentence a federal judge was forced to impose because of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. He had no criminal record before he was convicted of selling $350 worth of marijuana to a police informant three times and prosecutors argued he was a gang member who carried a gun during two of those deals, though he was not accused of using or showing a weapon. The music producer was freed from prison in 2016. Utah Sen. Mike Lee petitioned former President Barack Obama to grant clemency to Angelos, as did the former federal judge who sentenced Angelos. Obama did not commute Angelos’ sentence but the man was instead released from prison after receiving a sentence reduction in court.

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CRYSTAL MUNOZ, JUDITH NEGRON AND TYNICE NICHOLE HALLL:

Munoz, Negron and Hall had received executive clemency earlier this year and their cases represent the flood of requests that presidents typically receive.

The president commuted the remainder of Crystal Munoz’s sentence after granting her clemency in October. She had served 12 years of a 20-year prison sentence on a drug conspiracy charge after being convicted for her role in a marijuana smuggling ring. She contended her only role was drawing a map others allegedly used in moving the drugs from Mexico to Texas and that her lawyer failed to adequately defend her. She had been on federal supervised release before Tuesday’s commutation.

Negron had been serving 35 years at a Florida prison for health care fraud, conspiracy and money laundering when she was released in October. On Thursday, the president commuted the remainder of her term of supervised release.

Hall was convicted of drug charges and the White House said she served nearly 14 years of an 18-year sentence for allowing her apartment to be used to distribute drugs. Officials said Hall taught prison education programs to other inmates.

Their cases had been championed by criminal justice reform advocates like Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence Trump commuted in 2018 at the urging of reality TV star Kim Kardashian West and whose story Trump’s reelection campaign featured in a Super Bowl ad.

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OTIS GORDON:

The pastor, convicted of drug possession charges, was issued a full pardon, supported by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. The White House said he became a pastor at Life Changer’s International Ministries after his conviction, mentors at-risk kids and led a prayer session at the United States Capitol after the 2015 shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

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PHILIP ESFORMES:

The former Florida health care executive was convicted on 20 criminal counts in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme, one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history. The wealthy Miami Beach businessman operated a network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida and was found guilty of paying kickbacks and bribes to doctors and administrators so they would refer patients to his businesses. Esformes’ prison sentence was commuted by the president on Tuesday, but other aspects of his sentence, including supervised release and millions in restitution, remained intact. The White House said the commutation was supported by a number of former attorneys general and said Esformes is in declining health.

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ALFONSO COSTA:

Costa is a dentist from Pittsburgh who pleaded guilty to a health care fraud charge related to false billing, served two years of probation and paid nearly $300,000 in fines and restitution. The White House said Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and former NFL football player Jerome Bettis had requested clemency for Costa and said Costa devoted much of his adult life to serving his community.

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ALFRED LEE CRUM:

The 89-year-old pleaded guilty in 1952 — when he was 19 — to helping his wife’s uncle illegally distill moonshine. He served three years of probation and paid a $250 fine. The White House said Crum, of Oklahoma, has maintained a clean record and a strong marriage for nearly 70 years, attended the same church for 60 years, raised four children, and regularly participated in charity fundraising events

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Associated Press writers Kevin Freking and Michelle L. Price contributed to this report.