During his four years as president, Donald Trump has granted clemency to approximately 100 individuals, with a flurry of pardons going out at the end of the year as his presidency wraps up. A few days before Christmas, President Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of over 40 people, and is assumed to grant between 60 and 100 more today.
Let’s take a look at some of his more recent pardons and commutations and find out what everyone is talking about.
Often, presidential pardons are granted for righting past wrongs, or to acknowledge that an individual has truly rehabilitated him or herself. For example:
- Alice Marie Johnson was granted clemency by President Trump in 2018 and formally pardoned in 2019. Johnson was serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense when celebrity Kim Kardashian brought Johnson’s case to the President’s attention. Johnson is now an activist for criminal justice reform.
- Jon Ponder served a 63-year sentence for bank robbery, and upon release founded Hope For Prisoners, dedicating himself to helping other convicts. He was granted a full pardon in August 2020.
- Alfred Lee Crum was convicted in 1952 for helping his wife’s uncle illegally produce moonshine when he was just nineteen years old. He spent three years in prison and paid a $250 fine, and has maintained a clean record, a strong marriage, and close community ties. President Trump granted him a full pardon in late December.
Other Trump pardons have raised some eyebrows in the media. These include:
- Charles Kushner, father of the President’s son-in-law Jared, was also granted a pardon. In 2004, Kushner pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, tax evasion, and witness tampering, among other things.
- Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, who pled guilty to conspiracy against the United States, and was found guilty on eight counts of tax fraud and bank fraud.
- Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor who pled guilty to lying to the FBI.
President Trump also issued a number of posthumous pardons, including:
- Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion, received a posthumous pardon from a racially-motivated conviction in 1913. Johnson was arrested for taking his white girlfriend across state lines. President Trump pardoned him in 2018.
- To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the President formally pardoned Susan B. Anthony for voting illegally in 1872.
- Zay Jeffries, a leading metal scientist, also received a pardon for a violation of the Sherman Act, an antitrust law. He was convicted in 1948 and was fined $2,500. Because his work was vital to the war effort, the White House believes his contributions helped lead the Allies to victory.
With a very limited amount of time remaining in Trump’s term, there could be even more pardons and clemency coming. Trump has tweeted as far back as 2018 that he has the right to pardon even himself.
If you have any questions about pardons or expungements, the Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. can help. We represent clients throughout South Carolina, with offices in Columbia and Charleston. Let us help you with your legal issues and protect your future. Our initial consultation is free. Please call 803-771-4119, or fill out our contact form.
Former prosecutor A. Randolph “Randy” Hough has a strong background in criminal law. Before entering private practice, he served as a prosecutor for the Fifth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina, handling numerous crimes ranging from drug trafficking to white-collar crimes to murder. A strong trial lawyer, A. Randolph Hough excels at building rapport with juries, and has extensive training and experience in DUI defense. Over the course of his career, he has handled thousands of cases — including both drug- and alcohol-related charges. Learn more about A. Randolph Hough.