President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced a wave of sentence commutations and pardons, including for disgraced financier Michael Milken, who was convicted in 1990 of securities fraud.
As part of his clemency blitz, Trump also commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of federal corruption charges, including for an attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat previously held by then-President Barack Obama.
Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was one of the seven people granted presidential pardons on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to felony tax fraud and lying to the government.
Former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who was convicted in a gambling fraud scandal in 1998, was also pardoned. Trump also granted clemency to Ariel Friedler, Paul Pogue, David Safavian, Angela Stanton, Tynice Nichole Hall, Crystal Munoz and Judith Negron.
“We have commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich,” Trump told reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. “I don’t know him very well. I’ve met him a couple times. He was on for a short while on ‘The Apprentice’ years ago. He seemed like a very nice person. Don’t know him, but he served eight years in jail. It was a long time to go.”
Trump on commuting sentence for Blagojevich: "It was a prosecution by the same people -- Comey, Fitzpatrick -- the same group." pic.twitter.com/gXigT20Fdc— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 18, 2020
Blagojevich served as the state’s Democratic governor from 2003 to 2009 before he was given a 14-year prison sentence in 2012. Blagojevich was convicted a year earlier on 18 felony corruption charges related to his illegal use of campaign finances and attempts to exchange bribes for political favors.
The most brazen of his crimes, however, was his attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat held by Obama when he was elected president. In a 2008 phone conversation wiretapped by the FBI, Blagojevich joked...