Trump Commutes Corruption Sentence of Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois
The president also pardoned Edward DeBartolo, a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers who pleaded guilty to a felony in 1998 for not reporting an extortion scheme.
WASHINGTON - President Trump has commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, the Democrat who was convicted of trying to essentially sell President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat for personal gain, according to a person briefed on the decision.
Mr. Trump commuted the former governor's sentence on Tuesday and is planning on announcing it soon, taking the action 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 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.
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."
More News in politics
All these numbers give an estimation that cervical cancer is likely to contribute in the growth of global human papillomaviruses market. This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire San Francisco, CA -- ( SBWIRE) -- 02/18/2020
People in the Wisconsin town of Fulton are the first to try out software Microsoft designed to confirm that votes are being properly counted. On Tuesday, Fulton residents are using the technology while choosing who
Illinois politicians from both parties were quick to criticize President Donald Trump's commutation of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's prison sentence. Here are some reactions to Tuesday's news: "Fourteen years a long time... but
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump pardoned seven people on Tuesday including former junk bond king Michael Milken and commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich, the ex-Illinois governor convicted of trying to peddle Barack Obama's