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Bush Rejected Pardons for Some Big Names

Duke Cunningham

Duke Cunningham

Nearly everyone expected Pres. Bush to show some generosity when it came to pardons in the waning days of his presidency. But apparently, the President wasn’t feeling that generous –or feared some pardons would come back to haunt him, as they did for Pres. Clinton.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush, on his last full day in office, formally struck down the petitions for clemency of some high-profile politicians and businessmen, including former lawmakers Randall “Duke” Cunningham, Edwin Edwards and Mario Biaggi and “junk bond” financier Michael Milken, the Justice Department said today.
The chief of the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, Ronald Rodgers, confirmed the pardon rejections through a spokeswoman, in response to queries from The Times’ Washington Bureau.
The Justice Department said Bush also denied petitions for clemency for two men who became highly polarizing symbols of their eras. One of them was John Walker Lindh, the young American serving 20 years in prison for aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan at a time when it was fighting U.S. military forces just after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Bush also denied one of the longest-standing petitions for clemency, for Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the murder of two FBI agents during a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His application had been under consideration since 1993, current and former Justice Department officials said.
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