President Donald Trump Tuesday pardoned 15 people, including Republican allies, a 2016 campaign official trapped in the Russia probe, and former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad.
the pardons included former Republican representatives, Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York.
Collins, the first congressman to endorse Trump’s presidency, was sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison after admitting to helping his son and others avoid $ 800,000 in stock market losses when he learned that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed.
Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty steal campaign funds and spend cash on everything from going out with friends to her daughter’s birthday party.
Trump too announced a pardon for George Papadopoulos, his 2016 campaign advisor whose conversation unwittingly helped spark the Russia inquiry that followed Trump’s presidency for nearly two years.
By pardoning Papadopoulos, Trump once again targeted Special Advocate Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia and is part of a larger Trump effort to overturn the results of the investigation which led to criminal charges against half a dozen associates.
Last month Trump pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and months earlier he had commuted the sentence of another associate, Roger Stone, a few days before he showed up in prison.
In the group announced Tuesday evening, four former government contractors were convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and sparked international outcry over the use of private security guards in a war zone.
Supporters of Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, former Blackwater Worldwide contractors, had been pushing for pardons, arguing the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution which they said , were tainted with problems and withheld exculpatory evidence. All four were serving long prison sentences.
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