Published: Fri, June 01, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Rick Owen

Trump’s Pardons Undermine the Rule of Law

Trump’s Pardons Undermine the Rule of Law

In addition to pardoning D'Souza, Trump said Thursday that he's thinking about clemency for Martha Stewart, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, among "lots" of other people. The judge who sentenced him said D'Souza's claims of being treated unfairly by the government were "nonsense", adding, "spin is what that is".

Patti Blagojevich, the former governor's wife, said she and the couple's two children were "very encouraged" by Trump's comments.

On May 20, 2014, D'Souza was convicted of a felony for making illegal contributions to Wendy Long's unsuccessful challenge of Kirsten Gillibrand to represent NY in the United States Senate. Trump on May 31 pardoned D'Souza, who was sentenced to five years of probation in 2014 for violating federal campaign laws.

The government said in court papers that D'Souza faced overwhelming evidence of guilt and "now seizes upon the fact that he is an outspoken critic of the Obama administration as an excuse to avoid the consequences of his actions". Upon news of the pardon, D'Souza tweeted that "KARMA IS A BITCH" and lashed out at former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, who handled his case.

D'Souza also took the opportunity to take more shots at Preet Bharara, the Obama-era US attorney whose office oversaw the prosecution against him.

At his sentencing, D'Souza told the judge in the case that he regretted breaking the law, but he has argued in interviews since then, and in the "Hillary's America" documentary, that he was selectively targeted for prosecution.

D'Souza used the experience of his brush with the law as the staging point for a film that was released around the Republican party convention in 2016, at which Trump was crowned the party's presidential candidate.

James Robenalt, a lawyer at the firm Thompson Hine, said the D'Souza pardon is largely symbolic for subjects of Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

A 1983 graduate of Dartmouth, D'Souza served as a policy analyst for the late President Ronald Reagan and as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. "I am not getting into process, but what I will say is the president has the constitutional authority".

On Thursday morning, after Trump announced the pardon, Republican Sen.

D'Souza told Fox News that Trump called him on Wednesday to tell him he would be pardoned.

All the cases have involved public figures or received media attention - from Scooter Libby to former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Most recently, he apologized for a tweet taunting survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., after Florida lawmakers opted not to ban assault weapons. In another tweet, he wrote "Adults 1, kids 0".

D'Souza was born in Mumbai and became a naturalized US citizen in 1991. Scott, who is running for U.S. Senate, has not yet said if he will attend.

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