President Trump announced a flurry of Christmas week pardons and commutations, with more expected before he leaves office on Jan. 20. Among the dozens who have so far benefited from Trump’s executive clemency power are allies and friends of the president or other Republicans, including full pardons to some who pleaded guilty to lying to federal law enforcement during the Russia investigation.
The president has now used his powers to personally intervene and grant clemency in multiple cases that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III brought against Trump’s former advisers.
Michael Flynn: In November, Trump pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his dealings with a Russian diplomat, though he later sought to withdraw that plea.
George Papadopoulos: Trump gave a full pardon to George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to his 2016 campaign who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during its Russia investigation. In 2018, Papadopoulos served his 14-day prison sentence.
Alex van der Zwaan: Trump also pardoned Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who had worked with Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in work related to Ukraine and pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to Mueller’s team. He served 30 days in prison before returning to his home in London.
Paul Manafort: Trump pardoned former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted in 2018 of committing financial fraud and conspiring to obstruct the investigation of his crimes. A White House announcement of the pardons said Manfort’s convictions were “premised on the Russian collusion hoax.”
Roger Stone: Trump upgraded the clemency he had earlier provided to longtime friend Roger Stone to a full pardon. A White House announcement of the pardons said the pardon for Stone would “help to right the injustices he faced at the hands of the Mueller investigation.”
Charles Kushner: Trump also pardoned Kushner, the father of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who pleaded guilty to in 2004 to having made false statements to the Federal Election Commission, witness tampering, and tax evasion stemming from $6 million in political contributions and gifts mischaracterized as business expenses.
Among those pardoned were three former Republican congressmen, each of them convicted of federal offenses during the Trump administration. Two had been early and avid supporters of Trump’s campaign.
Former congressman Duncan D. Hunter (Calif.): Hunter — who prosecutors alleged used hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay for family vacations and theater tickets, and even to facilitate extramarital affairs — had been facing an 11-month federal prison sentence. He pleaded guilty in 2019 to misusing campaign funds. Hunter notably won reelection while under federal indictment, only to later admit wrongdoing and resign.
Former congressman Chris Collins (N.Y.): Former congressman Chris Collins had been serving a 26-month sentence for an insider-trading scheme and lying to the FBI. He, too, had pleaded guilty in the case. Collins and Hunter were among Trump’s first congressional supporters.
Former congressman Steve Stockman (Tex.): Stockman was about two years into a 10-year sentence, having been convicted in 2018 of conspiring to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations that were meant for charity and voter education. Among those who had signed a petition seeking mercy for Stockman was attorney Sidney Powell, who has been pushing Trump’s false allegations that his election loss came as a result of fraud.
Utah state Rep. Philip Lyman: Trump also pardoned a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives, Phil Lyman. Lyman was sentenced to spend 10 days in jail for his role in a 2014 all-terrain vehicle demonstration that was intended to protest federal land management practices.
Former congressman Mark Siljander (Mich.): In 2010, Siljander pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction of justice and acting as a foreign agent on behalf of an Islamic charity that hired him to lobby Congress to have its name removed from a list of alleged terrorist supporting organizations. In 2012, Siljander was sentenced to a year in federal prison.
Blackwater security contractors: The four private security contractors Trump pardoned — Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — all worked for the now-infamous Blackwater Worldwide security company, founded by Trump supporter Erik Prince. Trump has long viewed Prince as an ally, and mused about giving him more government contracts during his presidency, according to White House officials and Trump advisers.
The September 2007 shooting in which the Blackwater contractors were involved left 14 dead and 17 wounded and set off a diplomatic crisis on oversight of American security contractors during one of the deadliest periods in the Iraq War. Slatten had been sentenced to life in prison; Slough and Liberty to 15 and 14 years; and Heard to 12 years and seven months.
Border Patrol agents: Trump also granted pardons to two former Border Patrol agents whose sentences for shooting a suspected drug smuggler fleeing their custody had been previously commuted. According to the White House and news accounts from the time, the agents — Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean — were working near El Paso when they shot the suspected smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete Dávila, as he tried to get away from them. Compean was sentenced to 12 years in prison and Ramos to 11 years. President George W. Bush had commuted their sentences.
Trump extended pardons and commutations to several people who have been active in criminal justice reform or whose causes were championed by others in that field. In February, Trump had commuted the sentences of Crystal Munoz, Tynice Nichole Hall and Judith Negron; on Tuesday he wiped away their terms of supervised release.
Weldon Angelos: Angelos was 24 years old when he was sentenced in 2004 to 55 years in prison for bringing guns to marijuana deals, a sentence a federal judge was forced to impose because of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Utah Sen. Mike Lee petitioned former President Barack Obama to grant clemency to Angelos, as did the former federal judge who sentenced Angelos. Obama did not commute Angelos’ sentence but the man was instead released from prison after receiving a sentence reduction in court.
Alfonso Costa: Costa is a dentist from Pittsburgh who pleaded guilty to a health care fraud charge related to false billing, served two years of probation and paid nearly $300,000 in fines and restitution. The White House said Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and former NFL football player Jerome Bettis had requested clemency for Costa and said Costa devoted much of his adult life to serving his community.
Alfred Lee Crum: The 89-year-old pleaded guilty in 1952 — when he was 19 — to helping his wife’s uncle illegally distill moonshine. He served three years of probation and paid a $250 fine.
Philip Esformes: The former Florida health care executive was convicted on 20 criminal counts in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme, one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history. Esformes’ prison sentence was commuted by the president on Tuesday, but other aspects of his sentence, including supervised release and millions in restitution, remained intact. The White House said the commutation was supported by a number of former attorneys general and said Esformes is in declining health.
Otis Gordon: The pastor, convicted of drug possession charges, was issued a full pardon, supported by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
Crystal Munoz, Judith Negron and Tynice Nichole Hall: Munoz, Negron and Hall had received executive clemency earlier this year and their cases represent the flood of requests that presidents typically receive. Their cases had been championed by criminal justice reform advocates like Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence Trump commuted in 2018 at the urging of reality TV star Kim Kardashian West and whose story Trump’s reelection campaign featured in a Super Bowl ad.
Trump granted additional pardons to:
Margaret Hunter: Hunter is the wife of former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, who Trump pardoned on Tuesday. Along with her husband, she was also convicted of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds and was sentenced to three years of probation. Her husband, a Southern California Republican, had pleaded guilty to stealing about $150,000 from his campaign funds.
John Tate and Jesse Benton: The men were top staffers on Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and convicted in 2016 of causing false records and campaign expenditure reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission. The White House said the pardons were supported by a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and by Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky who is also the son of Ron Paul.
Stephanie Mohr: The former Maryland police officer was convicted in 2001 of violating a homeless man’s civil rights by letting her police dog attack him even though he had surrendered. The White House said her clemency is supported by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Gary Brugman: The former U.S. Border Patrol agent was convicted of striking and violating the civil rights of a man who had crossed the U.S. border illegally. The White House said his pardon was supported by several Republican members of Congress and conservative media personalities, including Laura Ingraham, Sara Carter, Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs, along with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who also was convicted of a federal crime and pardoned by Trump.
Mary McCarty: A former county commissioner in Palm Beach County, Florida, McCarty was issued a full pardon on Wednesday. She was convicted of a federal criminal charge for honest services fraud. The White House said her pardon was supported by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media.
Christopher II X, Formerly Christopher Anthony Bryant: The prominent community leader in Louisville, Kentucky, was issued a full pardon for his conviction on federal drug charges. He was also issued a pardon by Kentucky’s governor for state offenses in 2019.
Robert Coughlin: Coughlin worked in the Justice Department and was convicted of a conflict of interest charge for his role in the influence peddling scandal surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The White House said the pardon was supported by former interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jeffrey Taylor and Adam Ciongoli, former counselor to Attorney General Ashcroft
Joseph Occhipinti: Occhipinti was an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service when he was convicted in 1991 of conspiracy to violate civil rights under the color of law and making false statements. His sentence was commuted after seven months in prison by President George H.W. Bush. The White House said he had earned 76 commendations during his career, including from three attorneys general.
Rickey Kanter: Kanter founded a company known as Dr. Comfort, selling special shoes and inserts for diabetics, and was convicted of mail fraud tied to illegal Medicare reimbursements.
Daniela Gozes-Wagner: The Houston woman was convicted in a $50 million health care fraud scheme in 2017. The White House said the commutation was supported by several former U.S. attorneys general.
Mark Shapiro And Irving Stitsky: Trump commuted Shapiro and Stitsky’s sentences after they were convicted in federal court in New York of defrauding more than 250 people in a $23 million real estate scam. A White House news release praised the men as “model prisoners,” who had earned support and praise from other inmates.
Topeka Sam: Sam, now a criminal justice advocate who helped work on a bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that Trump often touts, was convicted of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and served three years of a more than 10-year prison sentence. She was in the White House when Trump signed the overhaul measure, known as the First Step Act, into law.
Her case had been championed by other criminal justice reform advocates like Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence Trump commuted in 2018 at the urging of reality TV star Kim Kardashian West.
James Batmasian: Batmasian is a real-estate investor and runs property management companies in South Florida. He pleaded guilty to cheating the federal government out of more than $250,000 by failing to pay federal taxes for employees at his company. He was an influential developer and at the time was one of the largest landowners in Boca Raton, Florida.
Cesar Lozada: Lozada was convicted of conspiring to distribute marijuana and served a 14-month prison sentence.
Joseph Martin Stephens: Stephens pleaded guilty in 2008 to being a felon in possession a firearm, a federal offense.
Andrew Barron Worden: Wordon, who runs an investment firm and a solar energy company, was convicted of wire fraud in 1998. The White House said Worden had begun to repay his victims before criminal charges were filed.
John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson: The two men were senior executives at Hollinger International and associates of media tycoon Conrad Black. Boultbee and Atkinson were found guilty of three counts of mail fraud and each served a year in prison.
Black was a co-defendant in the case and was also convicted; Trump previously pardoned him.
Rebekah Charleston: Charleston was arrested in 2006 for tax evasion and the White House said she is a victim of sex trafficking who was forced into prostitution. Officials said she volunteers to help sex trafficking victims and her pardon was also supported by a law enforcement agent who arrested her.
William J. Plemons Jr.: The White House said Plemons was convicted of various financial crimes in the late 1990s and early 2000s and served 27 months in federal prison. Officials said he served in the Air Force and supported several charitable organizations.
James Kassouf: Kassouf pleaded guilty in 1989 to a federal tax offense. The White House said that since his convicted, he has been devoted to his church, fire department and works with charitable organizations.
Christopher Wade: The White House said Wade was convicted of multiple cyber-related offenses and has “shown remorse and sought to make his community a safer place.” He was issued a full pardon.
Russell Plaisance: Trump granted a posthumous pardon for Plaisance, who was convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine from a 1987 case. The White House said the prosecutors involved in his case did not object to the pardon.
Rosalind S. Helderman, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, Kevin Uhrmacher, Tim Meko, Atthar Mirza, Colby Itkowitz and William Neff contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo of the Associated Press also contributed.