Record Numbers Seek Last-Minute Pardons From President Bush

Human Rights

As President Bush enters his final months in office, a record number of felons are seeking presidential pardons or commutations from him, causing “one of the largest backlogs in clemency applications in recent history”:

A number of high-profile felons have already sought clemency, among them Michael Milken, the junk-bond king and financier convicted of securities fraud in 1990; John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban; Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the former California congressman who was convicted of tax evasion; and Edwin Edwards, the former governor of Louisiana convicted in 2000 of racketeering, according to the Justice Department.

In his presidency thus far, Bush has “taken a stingy stand on pardons,” granting fewer of them than any president in modern history. But Bush’s use of his clemency powers has not been without controversy. In 2007, Bush commuted former vice-presidential assistant Scooter Libby’s 2 1/2 years prison sentence for lying to federal prosecutors. Libby has not submitted a pardon request to Justice.

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