President Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons Others
President Trump got busy with his pen today, commuting and pardoning several people including former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
President Trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, the Democrat who was convicted of trying to essentially sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat for personal gain, and pardoned the financier Michael R. Milken and Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, the president announced on Tuesday.
“Yes, we commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich,” Mr. Trump told reporters just before boarding Air Force One for a four-day trip to the west coast where he is scheduled to hold three campaign rallies. “He served eight years in jail, a long time. He seems like a very nice person, don’t know him.”
Mr. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, was convicted of tax fraud and lying to the government. And he said he had also pardoned Mr. Milken, the investment banker who was known in the 1980s as the “junk bond king” and who has fought for decades to reverse his conviction for securities fraud.
Mr. Trump commuted the former governor’s sentence on Tuesday after saying for years that he was considering intervening in Mr. Blagojevich’s case. By commuting the sentence, the president would free Mr. Blagojevich from prison without wiping out the conviction. Republicans have advised the president against it, arguing that Mr. Blagojevich’s crime epitomizes the corruption that Mr. Trump had said he wanted to tackle as president.
The president’s decision came the same day that he pardoned or commuted the sentences of eight others including Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers who pleaded guilty in 1998 to concealing an extortion attempt and eventually surrendered control of his team.