In a Petty Turn of Events, Trump Sends Out Series of Pardons

Updated: Jan 11

On Tuesday, Dec. 22nd, Pres. Donald Trump announced a series of pardons and commutations. These were granted to a wide array of recipients, such as former Republican congressmen, convicts part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, Border Patrol agents convicted for shooting an undocumented immigrant, and former Blackwater guards who killed innocent Iraqi men, women, and children.

The former Republican congressmen, Duncan Hunter, Steve Stockman, and Chris Collins had all either plead guilty to or were convicted of corruption. Hunter had been sentenced to 11 months in prison as well as three years of supervised release for the misuse of more than $200,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and luxuries.

Stockman had been sentenced to 10 years in prison and was ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution for multiple counts of money laundering, mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, and more.

Collins had been sentenced to 26 months in a federal prison in Florida starting last October due to him committing security fraud by disclosing information to his son regarding a failed drug trial and then proceeding to lie about these allegations.

Two men that plead guilty in Robert Mueller’s investigation regarding Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election were George Papadopoulos and Alex Van der Zwann. Papadopoulos were sentenced to about two weeks in prison in 2018, for lying about having Russian connection, as well as information that would have damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and a potential closed do meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer, was sentenced to 30 days in prison before being deported to Europe in 2018 for lying to the FBI.

In 2014, Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard were convicted by a federal jury in 2014 for opening fire on civilians in Baghdad, killing 17 people, with 14 of the deaths being unjustified. They worked for Blackwater Security Consulting, renamed to Academi, a private military company which was contracted by the US government. Slatten was sentenced to life in prison, while the other three were sentenced to 30 years, with their sentences then being cut roughly in half in 2019.

Several others not in Trump’s inner circle were also given reduced sentences, such as; Alfonso Costa, who pleaded guilty to health care fraud. Alfred Lee Crum, who pleaded guilty to illegally distilling moonshine. Weldon Angelos, who was sentenced for handgun possession and selling marijuana. Philip Lyman, a Utah county commissioner who had protested ATV restrictions. Otis Gordon, who was convicted for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Trump also reduced the sentences of Crystal Munoz, Tynice Nichole Hall, and Judith Negron, who were convicted for drug crimes. Most, if not all, of the people convicted for drug crimes were recommended to receive reduced sentences by Alice Johnson, who was a nonviolent drug offender given a full pardon by Pres. Trump.

It is expected that in the final days of his presidency Pres. Trump will continue to pardon more people.

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