Unusual Presidential Pardons in the last 40 years

By | Jan 16, 2008

Jimmy Hoffa
Hoffa was in prison serving a sentence for jury tampering and fraud when he was pardon on December 23, 1971 by Richard Nixon. Nixon did a condition on his pardon, “not engage in direct or indirect management of any labor organization” until at least March 1980. Hoffa supported Nixon’s reelection bid in 1972. It is believed that when he disappeared in 1975, he was trying to reassert his power over the teamsters, a clear violation of his agreement with Nixon.

Richard Nixon
President Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon during a national televised announcement on Sept. 8, 1974. At the time it was a very unpopular move. When he was a young man Bill Clinton was against the pardon, however he has since changed his mind. It’s the opinion of many that the pardon was one of the chief reasons Ford did not win the 1976 election against Jimmy Carter.

Mark Felt & Edward Miller
These two men were found guilty in 1978 of breaking into Vietnam protesters’ homes and offices without warrants during the Nixon presidency while working for the FBI. Ronald Reagan pardoned the two while their conviction were in appeals. Reagan felt that since America was generous and pardoned the draft dodgers that, “We can be no less generous to two men who acted on high principle to bring an end to the terrorism that was threatening our nation.”

George Steinbrenner
The owner of the New York Yankees was indicted on 14 criminal counts on April 5, 1974. He plead guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiring to make illegal contributions to President Richard Nixon’s re-election. Ronald Reagan, after the Yankee owner admitted to the crimes pardoned him.

Caspar Weinberger
Former Defense Secretary Weinberger were criticized for participating in the transfer of U.S. anti-tank missiles to Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. After he resigned in 1987 he was charged with lying to the independent council. He was pardoned by George H. W. Bush, which essentially halted any legal proceedings of the affair.

Patty Hearst
Even though she had been kidnapped he was convicted of robbing a San Francisco bank while brandishing an assault rifle and had been in prison for about two years Jimmy Carter commuted sentence and freed her from jail. It wasn’t until the last day of the Clinton’s term that she was given a full pardon.


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