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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 54)

Rod Blagojevich Comes Home to Chicago, Defiant, ‘Bloody,’ Ready to Talk

Westlake Legal Group 19blago-facebookJumbo Rod Blagojevich Comes Home to Chicago, Defiant, ‘Bloody,’ Ready to Talk Trump, Donald J Chicago (Ill) Blagojevich, Rod R Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

CHICAGO — Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, emerged from his brick bungalow on Chicago’s North Side into shivering cold air on Wednesday, coatless, tieless and remorseless. Mr. Blagojevich, who had been in a Colorado prison until a day earlier, denounced a broken justice system, spoke of his “exile” behind bars, thanked President Trump for commuting his sentence and insisted that he had done nothing illegal.

“It’s been a long, long journey. I’m bruised, I’m battered and I’m bloody,” Mr. Blagojevich said, dabbing his chin with a handkerchief. He explained that he was still getting used to using a regular razor — unavailable in prison — and had nicked himself while shaving.

In a surprise move, Mr. Blagojevich, 63, was released from prison on Tuesday after Mr. Trump commuted his 14-year sentence criminal sentence for corruption after eight years. Mr. Blagojevich, then the Democratic governor, was arrested in 2008 when prosecutors said he had schemed to sell a Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama, who had newly been elected president. Mr. Blagojevich was swiftly impeached, unanimously removed from office, convicted and cast out by his own party.

On Wednesday, there was a sense that Mr. Blagojevich — Blago, to Illinoisans — was picking up where he had left off.

In 2012, he departed for federal prison from precisely this spot, his family home, surrounded by a frenzy of television cameras. The spectacle returned on Wednesday, as a helicopter buzzed overhead. News reporters bundled in parkas to chronicle his return, drawing stares from neighbors and dog-walkers in what is usually a quiet neighborhood. Someone waved a cutout photo of Mr. Blagojevich’s smiling face, attached to a broomstick, high in the air.

True to form, Mr. Blagojevich emerged from his house later than promised (“We’re back on Blago time,” one reporter said), his dark brown hair turned silvery in prison. He spoke expansively for close to 20 minutes without notes, and with his wife, Patti, at his side.

He quoted the Bible and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He recited poetry. He denounced racism. He dropped a few Spanish words. He described himself as a “freed political prisoner” and said he hoped “to turn an injustice into a justice.”

And he spoke of his eight years in prison, the solitary nights behind “the iron door that can shut you in, a small window with bars on it, and a bunk bed.”

“I slept on the top bunk,” Mr. Blagojevich recalled. “Often late at night I would look through that window and past those bars out into the night sky and I’d think of home, I’d think of my children, I’d think of Patti. Sometimes I could almost feel her near me,” he said.

“Trump! Yeah, Trump! Four more years!” a man in the crowd shouted.

“Just ignore him,” Ms. Blagojevich murmured through her teeth.

“I would say to myself, ‘One day, one day I’ll make it back to you, and hold your hand, sweetheart,’” Mr. Blagojevich said. “‘And I will remember what a gracious thing it’s been to walk through life with you. Thank you for waiting.’” He nuzzled her cheek.

“You’re bleeding,” she said, and he obligingly dabbed his chin again.

Ms. Blagojevich has been one of her husband’s most vocal defenders, making appearances on Fox News where she pleaded for mercy and appealed to Mr. Trump to commute Mr. Blagojevich’s sentence.

It is unclear what Mr. Blagojevich’s next act will be.

He offered one clue while flying back to Chicago on Tuesday, on a commercial flight from Denver, near the prison, to O’Hare International Airport. Chuck Goudie, an ABC7 reporter, sat next to Mr. Blagojevich on the plane; during the flight, Mr. Blagojevich said that he needed to get a job.

Among the neighbors and onlookers who had gathered outside Mr. Blagojevich’s home, Ziff Sistrunk, 63, a supporter from the South Side, hung a sign from the Blagojevich front steps and said that he hoped that Mr. Blagojevich would spend his post-prison life working on behalf of ex-felons.

Mr. Sistrunk said that he wrote Mr. Blagojevich letters early in his prison term (Mr. Blagojevich did not answer them) and sent him money, believing that he had been unfairly convicted for using language that what was just the typical blustery talk of politicians.

“Everybody ran away from him like he had the plague, but I stuck with him for eight years,” he said. “Now that he’s out, I hope he humbles himself.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Rod Blagojevich Comes Home to Chicago, Defiant, ‘Bloody,’ Ready to Talk

Westlake Legal Group 19blago-facebookJumbo Rod Blagojevich Comes Home to Chicago, Defiant, ‘Bloody,’ Ready to Talk Trump, Donald J Chicago (Ill) Blagojevich, Rod R Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

CHICAGO — Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, emerged from his brick bungalow on Chicago’s North Side into shivering cold air on Wednesday, coatless, tieless and remorseless. Mr. Blagojevich, who had been in a Colorado prison until a day earlier, denounced a broken justice system, spoke of his “exile” behind bars, thanked President Trump for commuting his sentence and insisted that he had done nothing illegal.

“It’s been a long, long journey. I’m bruised, I’m battered and I’m bloody,” Mr. Blagojevich said, dabbing his chin with a handkerchief. He explained that he was still getting used to using a regular razor — unavailable in prison — and had nicked himself while shaving.

In a surprise move, Mr. Blagojevich, 63, was released from prison on Tuesday after Mr. Trump commuted his 14-year sentence criminal sentence for corruption after eight years. Mr. Blagojevich, then the Democratic governor, was arrested in 2008 when prosecutors said he had schemed to sell a Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama, who had newly been elected president. Mr. Blagojevich was swiftly impeached, unanimously removed from office, convicted and cast out by his own party.

On Wednesday, there was a sense that Mr. Blagojevich — Blago, to Illinoisans — was picking up where he had left off.

In 2012, he departed for federal prison from precisely this spot, his family home, surrounded by a frenzy of television cameras. The spectacle returned on Wednesday, as a helicopter buzzed overhead. News reporters bundled in parkas to chronicle his return, drawing stares from neighbors and dog-walkers in what is usually a quiet neighborhood. Someone waved a cutout photo of Mr. Blagojevich’s smiling face, attached to a broomstick, high in the air.

True to form, Mr. Blagojevich emerged from his house later than promised (“We’re back on Blago time,” one reporter said), his dark brown hair turned silvery in prison. He spoke expansively for close to 20 minutes without notes, and with his wife, Patti, at his side.

He quoted the Bible and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He recited poetry. He denounced racism. He dropped a few Spanish words. He described himself as a “freed political prisoner” and said he hoped “to turn an injustice into a justice.”

And he spoke of his eight years in prison, the solitary nights behind “the iron door that can shut you in, a small window with bars on it, and a bunk bed.”

“I slept on the top bunk,” Mr. Blagojevich recalled. “Often late at night I would look through that window and past those bars out into the night sky and I’d think of home, I’d think of my children, I’d think of Patti. Sometimes I could almost feel her near me,” he said.

“Trump! Yeah, Trump! Four more years!” a man in the crowd shouted.

“Just ignore him,” Ms. Blagojevich murmured through her teeth.

“I would say to myself, ‘One day, one day I’ll make it back to you, and hold your hand, sweetheart,’” Mr. Blagojevich said. “‘And I will remember what a gracious thing it’s been to walk through life with you. Thank you for waiting.’” He nuzzled her cheek.

“You’re bleeding,” she said, and he obligingly dabbed his chin again.

Ms. Blagojevich has been one of her husband’s most vocal defenders, making appearances on Fox News where she pleaded for mercy and appealed to Mr. Trump to commute Mr. Blagojevich’s sentence.

It is unclear what Mr. Blagojevich’s next act will be.

He offered one clue while flying back to Chicago on Tuesday, on a commercial flight from Denver, near the prison, to O’Hare International Airport. Chuck Goudie, an ABC7 reporter, sat next to Mr. Blagojevich on the plane; during the flight, Mr. Blagojevich said that he needed to get a job.

Among the neighbors and onlookers who had gathered outside Mr. Blagojevich’s home, Ziff Sistrunk, 63, a supporter from the South Side, hung a sign from the Blagojevich front steps and said that he hoped that Mr. Blagojevich would spend his post-prison life working on behalf of ex-felons.

Mr. Sistrunk said that he wrote Mr. Blagojevich letters early in his prison term (Mr. Blagojevich did not answer them) and sent him money, believing that he had been unfairly convicted for using language that what was just the typical blustery talk of politicians.

“Everybody ran away from him like he had the plague, but I stuck with him for eight years,” he said. “Now that he’s out, I hope he humbles himself.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

John Rood, Top Defense Official, Latest to Leave After Impeachment Saga

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-rood-facebookJumbo John Rood, Top Defense Official, Latest to Leave After Impeachment Saga United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Rood, John C. impeachment Defense Department Anderson, James H

WASHINGTON — John C. Rood, the Defense Department’s top policy official, is the latest member of President Trump’s national security team involved in the Ukraine matter to leave the government.

Mr. Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, will step down at the end of February, the department’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said Wednesday.

Mr. Rood was part of the team at the Defense Department that told Congress last year that Ukraine had made the necessary reforms to justify sending the country $250 million in promised security assistance. The certification was widely viewed as undermining a key argument Mr. Trump’s defense team made during his impeachment battle: that Mr. Trump withheld the aid because he was concerned about corruption in Ukraine.

Mr. Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House but acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate. Since his acquittal, the president has moved swiftly to purge administration officials whose presentation of events did not align with his own.

Mr. Rood’s departure, reported earlier by CNN, was not entirely unexpected; he and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper were known to clash frequently early in their careers, and Mr. Esper was expected to fire him when he became Defense Secretary last year. But the dearth of respected national security policy experts willing to work for Mr. Trump has made it difficult for administration officials to fill jobs.

James H. Anderson, the acting deputy under secretary of defense for policy, will be taking over Mr. Rood’s duties until a replacement is appointed by the president, the department said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pardon Closes the Book on Milken’s Case but Can’t Rewrite It

Westlake Legal Group 18stewart2-facebookJumbo Pardon Closes the Book on Milken’s Case but Can’t Rewrite It United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sentences (Criminal) Milken, Michael R Frauds and Swindling Banking and Financial Institutions Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

By pardoning Michael R. Milken, a potent symbol of the “greed is good” 1980s and arguably the most significant white-collar criminal of his generation, President Trump has sent two powerful messages: When it comes to justice, money counts. And white-collar crime doesn’t really matter.

So much for the rule of law, already under siege by the Trump administration, and the notion that no one, no matter how rich or powerful, is above it.

Lest history be entirely rewritten, it’s worth considering what Judge Kimba M. Wood told Mr. Milken at his sentencing on Nov. 21, 1990, on charges including conspiracy and fraud:

“When a man of your power in the financial world, at the head of the most important department of one of the most important investment banking houses in this country, repeatedly conspires to violate, and violates, securities and tax laws in order to achieve more power and wealth for himself and his wealthy clients, and commits financial crimes that are particularly hard to detect, a significant prison term is required in order to deter others.”

She added that Mr. Milken, who was a senior executive at Drexel Burnham Lambert, had committed “serious crimes warranting serious punishment and the discomfort and opprobrium of being removed from society.”

Mr. Milken, advised by a team of the country’s most experienced and expensive lawyers, pleaded guilty rather than face a trial on even more expansive charges. Contrary to subsequent myth, he was not charged because he championed junk bonds. He was not charged because the savings-and-loan industry all but collapsed (though Mr. Milken’s junk-bond dealings played a direct role in the collapse of some institutions). He was not charged because of the resulting recession, which cost millions of people their jobs. Rather, he was charged so that “our financial markets in which so many people who are not rich invest their savings” can be “free of secret manipulation,” Judge Wood said at his sentencing.

Mr. Milken fainted outside the courtroom after she imposed a 10-year prison term.

Mr. Milken’s transgressions didn’t end with his guilty plea and imprisonment. Released two years into his term after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, he faced a lifetime ban on deal making. That didn’t stop him from negotiating CNN’s $7.5 billion sale to Time Warner in 1996 on behalf of his old friend and client Ted Turner, for which Mr. Milken collected a $50 million fee, and working for another friend and client, the billionaire Ronald O. Perelman. In 1998, Mr. Milken agreed to pay $47 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint that he had violated the ban — he neither admitted nor denied the allegations — and the government dropped a criminal investigation into his activities after his release.

Mr. Milken’s wealthy and powerful friends have been clamoring for a pardon for years on his behalf, but the prospect seemed remote until Mr. Trump’s election. Even Bill Clinton, who as president found a justification to pardon the notorious commodities trader and tax evader Marc Rich, balked at granting Mr. Milken a pardon.

Until Mr. Trump’s move was announced Tuesday, I had hoped to have written the last about Mr. Milken. He was a major character in my book “Den of Thieves,” which chronicles the rise and fall of Mr. Milken and his co-conspirator Ivan F. Boesky, the takeover speculator and model for the Gordon Gekko character in the “Wall Street” movies. (As someone who incriminated Mr. Milken and cooperated with the government, Mr. Boesky seems to have little chance of a pardon of his own from Mr. Trump.)

After the book was published in 1991, one of Mr. Milken’s former lawyers, Michael Armstrong, sued me, my research assistant and my publisher, claiming $35 million in damages in a case financed by Mr. Milken and his brother. (We won a resounding victory, albeit after nearly a decade of costly litigation.) I returned to the subject of Mr. Milken in an article for The New Yorker about his post-prison deal making while that case was pending.

But since then, Mr. Milken appears to have focused on nurturing his vast wealth (estimated to be in the billions of dollars even after he paid his $600 million fine) and devoting himself to reputation-enhancing charitable pursuits, ably chronicled by other reporters. The 1998 S.E.C. complaint and the threat of a return to prison seem to have worked, and so far as I’m aware, Mr. Milken has avoided the siren call of deal making for others. He deserves credit for his impressive record of good works.

While none of that warrants a presidential pardon, it’s not hard to fathom why Mr. Milken’s saga would resonate with Mr. Trump.

Like the president, Mr. Milken studied business at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania but was largely shunned by New York’s elite.

Mr. Milken’s early clients were corporate raiders who, like Mr. Trump, were disdained by establishment firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Mr. Milken and his junk-bond-fueled takeovers were seen as disruptive forces, threats to a complacent status quo on Wall Street and in corporate America, just as Mr. Trump has upended Washington.

And of course Mr. Milken underwent years of distracting investigations and related bad publicity. He was even represented for a time by Mr. Trump’s celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz (who at one point attacked me in an advertisement in The New York Times). In one of his many startling about-faces, the Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani went from being Mr. Milken’s principal accuser and the architect of his plea deal as U.S. attorney to a Milken champion and advocate for a pardon.

Seen as an underdog, even a very wealthy and well-connected one, Mr. Milken has long inspired a counternarrative that he was a victim of a media and Wall Street establishment jealous of his wealth and success. However unfounded in fact, that version of reality has now gotten a presidential stamp of approval.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Complete List of Trump’s Pardons and Commutations Today

Westlake Legal Group 00xp-pardon6-facebookJumbo A Complete List of Trump’s Pardons and Commutations Today United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Safavian, David H Prisons and Prisoners Paul Pogue Milken, Michael R Kerik, Bernard B Edward DeBartolo, Jr. David Safavian Blagojevich, Rod R Ariel Friedler Angela Stanton Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

President Trump pardoned seven people on Tuesday, including the “junk bond king” Michael R. Milken and Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner. He also commuted the sentences of Rod R. Blagojevich, a former governor of Illinois, and three others.

The Constitution gives presidents what the Supreme Court has ruled is the unlimited authority to grant pardons, which excuse or forgive a federal crime. A commutation, by contrast, makes a punishment milder without wiping out the underlying conviction. Both are forms of presidential clemency.

Here are the 11 people who benefited from the executive grants of clemency that Mr. Trump signed.

COMMUTATION

Former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2011 for trying to sell or trade to the highest bidder the Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated after he was elected president. “He served eight years in jail, a long time,” President Trump said of Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, on Tuesday. “Seemed like a very nice person, don’t know him.”

Pardon

Edward DeBartolo Jr., a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, pleaded guilty in 1998 to concealing an extortion attempt. He was prosecuted after agreeing to pay $400,000 to Edwin W. Edwards, a former governor of Louisiana, to secure a riverboat gambling license for his gambling consortium.

Although Mr. DeBartolo avoided prison time, he was fined $1 million and was suspended for a year by the N.F.L.

Pardon

Ariel Friedler, a technology entrepreneur, pleaded guilty in 2014 to conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization and served two months in prison, according to a statement from the White House.

Mr. Friedler has since dedicated his time to promoting veterans issues and helping former prisoners re-enter society, the statement said.

COMMUTATION

Tynice Nichole Hall was sentenced in 2006 after she was convicted on various drug charges in Lubbock, Texas, according to the Justice Department. The evidence at trial showed that Ms. Hall’s residence was used as a stash house for drugs by her boyfriend, who was the main target of an investigation, according to court documents. The police found large quantities of crack and powder cocaine and loaded firearms in her apartment.

Ms. Hall has spent the last 14 years in prison, where she has participated in apprenticeships, completed coursework toward a college degree and taught educational programs to other inmates, the White House statement said.

Pardon

Ten years ago this month, Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials. Mr. Kerik, who rose to national prominence and was a close ally of Rudolph W. Giuliani, took responsibility for his actions.

“Believe me when I say I have learned from this and I have become and will continue to become a better person,” he said in court in 2010. “I know I must be punished.” Since his conviction, Mr. Kerik has become a supporter of criminal justice and prison re-entry reform, according to a statement from the White House.

Pardon

Michael R. Milken was the billionaire “junk bond king” and a well-known financier on Wall Street in the 1980s. In 1990, he pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy charges, and months later was sentenced to 10 years in prison, though his sentence was later reduced to two years. He also agreed to pay $600 million in fines and penalties. Mr. Milken was also the inspiration for the Gordon Gekko character in the film “Wall Street.”

Since he was released from prison in 1993, Mr. Milken has striven to repair his reputation by creating a nonprofit think tank, the Milken Institute, devoted to initiatives “that advance prosperity.”

COMMUTATION

Crystal Munoz was found guilty in 2008 of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, according to a petition filed by Texas A&M University’s Criminal Defense Clinic. Ms. Munoz was sentenced to nearly two decades in prison for drawing a map that her friends used in a large marijuana trafficking operation, according to Rolling Stone.

Over the past 12 years, Ms. Munoz has mentored people and volunteered with a hospice program while serving time in prison, according to the White House statement.

COMMUTATION

Judith Negron was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2011 for her role in orchestrating a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme as the owner of a mental health care company in Miami. Ms. Negron has served eight years in prison, and her prison warden described her as a “model inmate,” according to the White House statement.

Pardon

In 2010, Paul Pogue, the founder and former chief executive of a large construction company in Texas, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $723,0000 in fines and restitution for filing false income tax statements, according to the McKinney Courier Gazette.

The White House applauded his charitable work in a statement on Tuesday. “Despite his conviction, Mr. Pogue never stopped his charitable work,” the statement said.

Pardon

David Safavian, the top federal procurement official under President George W. Bush, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2009 for covering up his ties to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Mr. Safavian, a former chief of staff at the General Services Administration, was convicted of both obstruction of justice and making false statements.

“Having served time in prison and completed the process of rejoining society with a felony conviction, Mr. Safavian is uniquely positioned to identify problems with the criminal justice system and work to fix them,” the White House said in the statement.

Pardon

Angela Stanton, an author, television personality and motivational speaker, served six months of home confinement in 2007 for her role in a stolen vehicle ring. Her book “Lies of a Real Housewife: Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil” explores her difficult upbringing and her encounters with reality TV stars.

Recently she has begun giving interviews about her support of Mr. Trump. The White House credited her in a statement with working “tirelessly to improve re-entry outcomes for people returning to their communities upon release from prison.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Grants Clemency to Rod Blagojevich, Bernard Kerik and Michael Milken

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-pardon-sub-facebookJumbo Trump Grants Clemency to Rod Blagojevich, Bernard Kerik and Michael Milken United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J San Francisco 49ers Police Department (NYC) Milken, Michael R Kerik, Bernard B Illinois gambling Debartolo, Edward J Jr Blagojevich, Rod R Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

WASHINGTON — 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.

Mr. DeBartolo, the scion of a prominent real estate development family who created one of the National Football League’s greatest dynasties, was prosecuted after agreeing to pay $400,000 in brand-new $100 bills to Edwin W. Edwards, the influential former governor of Louisiana, to secure a riverboat gambling license for his gambling consortium.

Mr. DeBartolo avoided prison but was fined $1 million and suspended for a year by the N.F.L. He later handed over the 49ers to his sister Denise DeBartolo York. His nephew Jed York currently runs the team, which made it back to the Super Bowl this year only to fall to the Kansas City Chiefs.

In conversations with advisers, Mr. Trump has also raised the prospect of commuting the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr, his longest-serving adviser, who was convicted in November of seven felony charges, including tampering with a witness and lying under oath in order to obstruct a congressional inquiry into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Asked about a pardon for Mr. Stone on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said “I haven’t given it any thought.”

Mr. DeBartolo, often called Eddie D., controlled the franchise for 23 years, presiding over the 49ers’ golden era in the 1980s and 1990s when the team won five Super Bowl championships under coach Bill Walsh with legendary players like Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice. Despite his felony conviction, Mr. DeBartolo was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

Mr. Trump made no immediate comment Tuesday on his decision but left it to his deputy press secretary, Hogan Gidley, to announce the pardon to reporters. Joining Mr. Gidley at the announcement was a host of N.F.L. legends who supported Mr. DeBartolo, including Mr. Rice, Mr. Lott, Jim Brown and Charles Haley.

“Eddie was like that 12th man that was on that football field,” Mr. Rice told reporters. “You know that this guy, you know, he wanted us to win. And I think he’s the main reason why we won so many Super Bowls. So today is a great day for him. I’m glad to be here and be a part of that.”

Along with Mr. Brown, Mr. DeBartolo was among the hosts of a pre-inauguration party in 2017 that honored people close to Mr. Trump at the time, including Michael D. Cohen, his personal attorney who later went to prison for campaign finance violations and tax evasion, and Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who joined the White House staff before later being fired. Mr. Trump promoted the event on Twitter at the time.

In the late 1990s, Mr. DeBartolo was an investor in the Hollywood Casino Corp., a Dallas company seeking permission for a riverboat casino in Louisiana. On March 12, 1997, he met Mr. Edwards for lunch in California and handed over $400,000 that the former Louisiana governor had demanded for his help in securing a license. The next day, the Gaming Board granted the license. A month later, federal agents raided Mr. Edwards’s house and office, seizing the $400,000.

“Why do it? It actually was just plain stupidity, and I should have just walked away from it,” Mr. DeBartolo told NFL Films for a biographical documentary in 2012. “I was as much to blame because I was old enough to know better and too stupid to do anything about it.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Grants Clemency to Rod Blagojevich, Bernard Kerik and Michael Milken

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-pardon-sub-facebookJumbo Trump Grants Clemency to Rod Blagojevich, Bernard Kerik and Michael Milken United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J San Francisco 49ers Police Department (NYC) Milken, Michael R Kerik, Bernard B Illinois gambling Debartolo, Edward J Jr Blagojevich, Rod R Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

WASHINGTON — 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.

Mr. DeBartolo, the scion of a prominent real estate development family who created one of the National Football League’s greatest dynasties, was prosecuted after agreeing to pay $400,000 in brand-new $100 bills to Edwin W. Edwards, the influential former governor of Louisiana, to secure a riverboat gambling license for his gambling consortium.

Mr. DeBartolo avoided prison but was fined $1 million and suspended for a year by the N.F.L. He later handed over the 49ers to his sister Denise DeBartolo York. His nephew Jed York currently runs the team, which made it back to the Super Bowl this year only to fall to the Kansas City Chiefs.

In conversations with advisers, Mr. Trump has also raised the prospect of commuting the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr, his longest-serving adviser, who was convicted in November of seven felony charges, including tampering with a witness and lying under oath in order to obstruct a congressional inquiry into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Asked about a pardon for Mr. Stone on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said “I haven’t given it any thought.”

Mr. DeBartolo, often called Eddie D., controlled the franchise for 23 years, presiding over the 49ers’ golden era in the 1980s and 1990s when the team won five Super Bowl championships under coach Bill Walsh with legendary players like Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice. Despite his felony conviction, Mr. DeBartolo was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

Mr. Trump made no immediate comment Tuesday on his decision but left it to his deputy press secretary, Hogan Gidley, to announce the pardon to reporters. Joining Mr. Gidley at the announcement was a host of N.F.L. legends who supported Mr. DeBartolo, including Mr. Rice, Mr. Lott, Jim Brown and Charles Haley.

“Eddie was like that 12th man that was on that football field,” Mr. Rice told reporters. “You know that this guy, you know, he wanted us to win. And I think he’s the main reason why we won so many Super Bowls. So today is a great day for him. I’m glad to be here and be a part of that.”

Along with Mr. Brown, Mr. DeBartolo was among the hosts of a pre-inauguration party in 2017 that honored people close to Mr. Trump at the time, including Michael D. Cohen, his personal attorney who later went to prison for campaign finance violations and tax evasion, and Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who joined the White House staff before later being fired. Mr. Trump promoted the event on Twitter at the time.

In the late 1990s, Mr. DeBartolo was an investor in the Hollywood Casino Corp., a Dallas company seeking permission for a riverboat casino in Louisiana. On March 12, 1997, he met Mr. Edwards for lunch in California and handed over $400,000 that the former Louisiana governor had demanded for his help in securing a license. The next day, the Gaming Board granted the license. A month later, federal agents raided Mr. Edwards’s house and office, seizing the $400,000.

“Why do it? It actually was just plain stupidity, and I should have just walked away from it,” Mr. DeBartolo told NFL Films for a biographical documentary in 2012. “I was as much to blame because I was old enough to know better and too stupid to do anything about it.”

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Comedy Returns to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Will Trump?

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Live from Washington, it’s Saturday night!

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured “Saturday Night Live” cast member, will serve as M.C. of this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the annual media jamboree that has become a flash point on free expression in the Trump era.

The dinner, to be held April 25, is also set to feature a repeat performance by Hasan Minhaj, the former “Daily Host” personality and current host of “Patriot Act” on Netflix. Mr. Minhaj was the featured entertainer at the 2017 edition of the event.

The lineup, announced on Tuesday by the Correspondents’ Association, is a return to comedy after last year’s more sober performance by Ron Chernow, the historian and Alexander Hamilton biographer, who lectured on the history of presidential ire toward the news media.

Mr. Chernow’s appearance was a direct consequence of an edgy monologue in 2018 by the comedian Michelle Wolf, who laced into President Trump and his aides from the dais. Ms. Wolf’s performance divided the chattering classes, with some Washingtonians lamenting her lack of civility and many comedians cheering her on.

The polarized reaction was not surprising for a dinner that, in recent years, has faced questions about why it exists in the first place.

Once a chance for the president and his chroniclers to rib each other in good faith, the tenor of the event shifted after Mr. Trump — who was famously mocked by President Barack Obama and Seth Meyers at the 2011 dinner — chose to boycott it in 2017, the first president to skip since Ronald Reagan after his 1981 assassination attempt. (Mr. Reagan dialed in from his hospital bed.)

Vanity Fair and The New Yorker canceled their parties; A-list celebrities steered clear. The Correspondents’ Association shifted the dinner’s focus from boozy revelry to a more solemn tribute to the First Amendment — welcome news to some critics who had long lamented the dinner’s image of chumminess and glad-handing.

Mr. Trump has stuck firmly to his boycott for the past three years, as his relationship with the national press has curdled further. In 2019, the president accused news organizations of “treason,” and his administration phased out the daily White House press briefing.

Jonathan Karl, the president of the Correspondents’ Association, has embraced the dinner’s renewed emphasis on freedom of the press. Under his direction, the association has introduced awards to recognize accountability journalism and reportorial courage. The association also plans to contact the Committee to Protect Journalists and PEN America about highlighting threats faced by reporters in other countries.

But Mr. Karl, the chief White House correspondent at ABC News, said he welcomed some comic relief at a tense moment for the nation.

“The dinner has a serious message, but we also believe it is as important as ever to be able to laugh — at ourselves, as well as at the people we cover,” Mr. Karl wrote in an email. “I’d argue that humor is more important now than ever.”

Mr. Thompson is in his 17th season at “Saturday Night Live,” where his impressions include Charles Barkley and Steve Harvey. Mr. Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” tackles politics and policy; his 2017 routine at the dinner mixed zingers about the Trump administration with his personal reflections on growing up in America as an immigrant.

The weekend surrounding the association’s dinner was once a highlight of the Washington social calendar, with Hollywood talent agencies hosting parties with open bars and closed guest lists.

Mr. Karl is making sure to underscore the importance of the occasion, too. The founding charter of the Correspondents’ Association, dating from 1914, was rediscovered during a White House renovation last year. The association arranged to restore the document, and it will be unveiled at the National Archives on April 20.

“It’s an important document,” Mr. Karl said. “A tangible reminder that reporters have been working on the grounds of the White House for well over a century.”

The dinner itself — held in the dreary ballroom of the Washington Hilton — will have a refreshed look. The yellowish curtain of years past will be replaced by large screens, and the evening will be overseen by a veteran television producer, Bob Bain, whose résumé includes a pair of Trevor Noah’s Netflix specials.

Whether Mr. Trump plans to go remains unknown: The White House did not respond to a request about the president’s intentions.

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Roger Stone Sentencing Will Go On as Planned, Judge Says

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WASHINGTON — The sentencing of President Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. will go on as planned on Thursday despite last-ditch motions by his defense attorneys for a new trial, a judge said on Tuesday.

The judge, Amy Berman Jackson of Federal District Court in the District of Columbia, told lawyers in the case that she did not want to postpone sentencing Mr. Stone, a former campaign adviser to Mr. Trump. She also ruled that Mr. Stone’s defense lawyers could file an amended motion for a new trial, and that the government could respond to the defense’s arguments in writing, even after she sentences him.

Mr. Stone, 67, was convicted in November of seven felony charges, including tampering with a witness and lying under oath in order to obstruct a congressional inquiry into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. An inquiry by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, ultimately found insufficient evidence to charge anyone associated with the campaign of conspiring with the Russians.

The four prosecutors who handled Mr. Stone’s jury trial recommended he be sentenced to between seven to nine years in prison. But after it was filed in court, Attorney General William P. Barr overruled their recommendation, saying it was excessively harsh.

The prosecutors then withdrew from the case in protest and one of them quit the department, triggering widespread consternation within the department about whether Mr. Barr intervened in order to satisfy Mr. Trump’s wishes. On Twitter, Mr. Trump has criticized the prosecutors, the forewoman of the jury and Judge Jackson.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Trump Continues Attack on Federal Case Against Friend Roger Stone

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WASHINGTON — President Trump threatened on Tuesday to sue “everyone” involved in the now-closed special counsel inquiry and continued his attacks on the federal case against his longtime friend and adviser Roger J. Stone Jr.

“If I wasn’t President, I’d be suing everyone all over the place. BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL. WITCH HUNT,” Mr. Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts, after lumping a string of perceived and disproved miscarriages of justice dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump also quoted a Fox News legal analyst, Andrew Napolitano, who opined Tuesday morning on “Fox and Friends” that the judge overseeing the Stone case, Justice Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, should approve Mr. Stone’s recent request for a new trial.

The president’s tweets come just days after two extraordinary pleas related to the Justice Department’s case against Mr. Stone.

On Thursday, Attorney General William P. Barr complained publicly that the president’s tweets undermined his work at the department. And on Sunday, more than 1,100 former federal prosecutors called on Mr. Barr to step down from his post after he interfered to lower a sentencing recommendation from the Justice Department for Mr. Stone.

Four prosecutors working the Stone case, which stems from the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling, quit in protest of the Justice Department’s actions.

Later Tuesday morning, Judge Jackson is expected to hold a conference call with lawyers on the case, including the four prosecutors.

Mr. Stone was convicted last year of lying to Congress and witness tampering in an effort to prevent investigators from learning how officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign sought to benefit from the release of documents stolen from Democrats.

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