CLINTON'S PARDONS UNPARDONABLE

Anyone who thinks Bill Clinton's 11th hour pardons weren't a product of carefully crafted, self-serving abuse of power must live on Naive Road. Indeed, he began by firing-up his "excusemobile" and pardoning himself with slick deals and no admissions.

Then, except for Webster Hubbell who must have secretly spilled some beans, he pardoned everyone left who could tell the truth on him, from Susan McDougal to his brother. He went on to deliver payback pardons to his shady connections and lawyers' clients, such as traitor and fugitive Marc Rich, and mass fraud crook Glenn Braswell. And he concluded by excusing political terrorists from the dissident past he still believes could do no wrong.

Clinton never respected the office of president which, in the end, proves his contempt for the law and the people. Petty theft, vandalism and leaving a dirty house were his parting shots.

Even worse, he'll be milking the taxpayers for many years to come with his high-maintenance lifestyle of the rich and infamous. But what can you expect from a man without a conscience?

Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Direct Democracy Center

FIRST NEWS TAKE ON QUESTIONABLE PARDONS

Sunday, January 21, 2001

Clinton grants pardons to 140, including brother

By John Solomon
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON - President Bill Clinton ended his tenure yesterday morning by pardoning 140 Americans, erasing the criminal records of his brother, Roger, Whitewater business partner Susan McDougal, and 1970s kidnapped heiress Patricia Hearst Shaw in a mix of personal and historical acts of clemency.

He also pardoned Marc Rich, a New York commodities trader who fled to Switzerland in the 1980s and has avoided trial on charges of tax evasion, fraud, racketeering and trading with U.S. enemies. Fortune magazine once listed Rich as one of America's wealthiest citizens.

The orders Clinton signed two hours before leaving office also spared one man from execution and cleared the cloud of scandal from two former cabinet confidants - ex-CIA director John Deutch and ex-housing chief Henry G. Cisneros.

Deutch had been discussing a possible plea deal with prosecutors to settle allegations he mishandled classified government information when the pardon muted his case.

Former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington also received a pardon that in effect ends prosecutors' efforts to restore criminal charges against him.

"I'm humbled and gratified," said Symington, a Republican convicted in 1997 of bank and wire fraud - convictions that were overturned on appeal.

Clinton's list, which included 36 commutations, also was notable for those it did not include:

Webster Hubbell, a former law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton convicted in the Whitewater investigation, had not sought a pardon; Jonathan Pollard, a former Navy analyst imprisoned for spying for Israel; 1980s Wall Street junk-bond king Michael Milken; Harrison Williams, the former New Jersey senator who was convicted in the Abscam scandal; and Leonard Peltier, convicted of killing two FBI agents on an Indian reservation in 1975.

Clinton, himself spared from indictment in a deal Friday with prosecutors, also commuted the prison sentences of 35 people and the death sentence of an Alabama man.

The President spared David R. Chandler from execution in an Alabama drug case in which questions have been raised about his federal conviction for ordering the murder of an associate-turned-informant. Chandler must remain in prison.

Others whose prison sentences were commuted included:

Former Navajo Nation leader Peter MacDonald, sent to prison in connection with a bloody riot in 1989.

Former U.S. Rep. Melvin J. Reynolds (D., Ill.), imprisoned for bank fraud, campaign violations and having sex with an underage campaign worker.

Susan Rosenberg, a 1970s activist who was sentenced to 58 years in prison for her role in the bungled 1981 Brink's armored car robbery that left two policemen and a guard dead in Rockland County, N.Y.

Linda Sue Evans, 53, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison for her part in a conspiracy to stage a bombing at the U.S. Capitol in 1983 to protest the invasion of Grenada.

Richard W. Riley Jr., son of Clinton's education secretary, who was sentenced to house arrest in 1993 for conspiring to sell cocaine and marijuana.

Clinton and his staff labored over the pardons for many hours in his final days. They settled on a list in the early hours yesterday, but the President asked to sleep on it before signing the orders.

One of the final decisions left to be made concerned McDougal, the former business partner who went to prison rather than give testimony about the President sought by Whitewater prosecutors.

"I am so grateful," she said yesterday. "There are tears down my face right now, I don't think I stopped crying since I saw the announcement."

McDougal was convicted of fraud along with her ex-husband, the late savings-and-loan owner James McDougal, in a 1996 trial at which Clinton testified by videotape. Her pardon came just a day after the Whitewater investigation was closed under a deal in which Clinton gave up his law license and admitted making false testimony under oath about Monica Lewinsky in return for prosecutors agreeing not to indict him.

A lesser-known Whitewater figure, Stephen A. Smith, also was pardoned. Smith, a former aide to Clinton when he was Arkansas governor, had been convicted of a misdemeanor in 1995 in the Whitewater probe.

McDougal only served 31/2 months of a two-year prison term for her four felony convictions before a federal judge released her because of a back problem.

But her freedom was short-lived. She defied a judge's order to answer Whitewater prosecutors' questions before a federal grand jury and was returned to jail for 18 months for civil contempt.

Roger Clinton, Bill Clinton's half brother, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty in 1985 to conspiring to distribute cocaine. He cooperated with authorities and testified against other drug defendants. He has since focused on an entertainment career.

Hearst grabbed headlines in the 1970s, when, as a 19-year-old heiress, she was kidnapped by the radical Symbionese Liberation Army. She was later sent to prison for a bank holdup in San Francisco.

Her prison term was cut short by former President Jimmy Carter, but her convictions remained on record until Clinton's pardon.

MacDonald, 72, the ailing former Navajo leader, has been in a Fort Worth, Texas, medical prison since 1992. He was one of the famed Navajos used by the U.S. military during World War II to stump the Japanese by using their native tongue as a communications code.

He later rose to chairman of America's largest Indian tribe, but became ensnared in controversy and eventually was sentenced for his role in a Window Rock, Ariz., riot that killed two in 1989.

Deutch's pardon spared the onetime spy chief and top Pentagon official from deciding whether to enter a misdemeanor plea deal in connection with his mishandling of national secrets on a home computer.

Cisneros was Clinton's first housing secretary. He resigned in 1996 amid an investigation into allegations that he lied to the FBI about payments he made to a former mistress. In 1999, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge. 2000 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.

USE BROWSER [ BACK BUTTON ] TO RETURN TO HOME PAGE....