November 25th, 2008
05:37 AM ET
9 years ago

President pardons 14, commutes sentences of two others

President Bush may issue more pardons before his term ends.

President Bush may issue more pardons before his term ends.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Who might receive the ultimate in White House holiday gifts - a presidential grant of clemency - is one of the hottest Washington guessing games today.

The wait for 16 applicants is over. Fourteen people received a pardon from President George Bush and the sentences of two others were commuted, the Justice Department announced Monday. A commutation reduces a convict's prison term, but the conviction remains on the person's record.

Among those receiving commutations was rap singer John Forte, who was charged with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. He was sentenced to 168 months in prison and five years supervised release. His prison term will now end on Dec. 22 of this year, and his release will still be supervised.

Those receiving pardons were not nationally-known and included persons convicted of marijuana use, unauthorized acquisition of food stamps and bank embezzlement.

Still unknown is how many more pardons and commutations the President may grant before he leaves office.

"The President carefully considered recommendations for pardons and commutations on a case-by-case basis and made his determinations. He will continue to review clemency requests," Assistant White House Press Secretary Carlton Carroll said.

Among the many who have applied are former Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham, Republican from California, who was convicted of receiving bribes, publishing executive Conrad Black, who was found guilty of fraud and John Walker Lindh, who was given a 20 year sentence after pleading guilty to supporting terrorists in Afghanistan.

Not including the ones granted on Monday, this administration has given 157 pardons and 6 commutations - far fewer than his predecessors considering this president has served two terms.

While the President has the power to grant clemency to anyone he desires, the application process is very detailed and usually pardons are restricted to those who meet several criteria, including having served five years.

The most controversial of those Bush administration clemency decisions was the commutation in July 2007 of former Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby after he was found guilty of lying about the leaking of the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media. Libby did not have to
serve any prison time.

There are about 475 pardon requests and almost 1,600 commutation applications still outstanding, according to Justice Department statistics.

–CNN's White House Correspondent Elaine Quijano and Terry Frieden contributed
to this story.

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Hector

    republicans band together and do as libs do...blame evrything on the other guy and use Bush and and republican as a exuse for evrything negative in my country and in my life. Life as a lib is soooo easy I love it

    November 25, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. New Yorker

    To Phillip Bunn – Bush committed war crimes against the Iraqi people? Freeing them from Hussein and his terror regime was a war crime? Hey buddy, you need to screw your head on the right way.

    November 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. Christine

    Who's going to pardon you Mr. Bush?

    November 25, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Wow...

    The bombshells just keep coming from this guy don’t they...? Never a dull moment. Is it January yet...?


    November 25, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Chuck

    But who is going to pardon Bush and Cheney on war crimes charges?

    November 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Mr. President "What about the two Border Guards who were convicted of shooting a drug dealer. What if he pardon Carl Rove, Cheney and pardon himself also. But this is America as President he can do this.

    November 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    answere the question--What about Ramos and Campeon ?????? they are bothe a better man then you ,W.

    November 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Nate A.

    Free Jonathan Pollard! Free Jonathan Pollard once and for all! Jonathan Pollard is a sick, old man, wrongly convicted approximately 25 years ago for "espionage." He was allegedly "spying" for Israel – America's only true Middle Eastern ally. Let's stop the Anti-Semitism and free this man once and for all. Drug dealers and corrupt politicians should not take precedence. Mr. Bush, please do the right thing and free Jonathan Pollard.

    November 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. Isaac

    Free the West Memphis Three!

    November 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. unfairness doctrine

    I wonder if he'll pardon Barney Frank and Chris Dodd for their lack of oversight in the mortgage and banking debacle? I find it rather odd that 2 of the main culprits of the financial crisis are now helping decide who gets a bail out and who does'nt. I guess if you have a [d] by your name it you cant be held accountable.

    November 25, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Sunny


    November 25, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. Boopme

    Bush doesn't read a lot you know. He's probably never heard of the Border Patrol Guards. If he didn't gain anything or if they weren't carrying out Cheney's instructions, then Bush knows nothing about it. Why not contact your Senators and Congressman and get them to bring it up to him and sit down and explain the situation to Bush. After it's been laid out in kinmdergarten style.......he might get it.

    November 25, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  13. vonn

    WOW... pardoning people who have been found guilty.... what about Troy Anthony Davis? Good Job Dubya

    November 25, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. Jan

    If Clinton Attorney -gen–now Obama Attorney Gen can pardon some of the biggest crooks of all time–Bush has a right to his own (not nearly as big as Clinton and Obama)

    November 25, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. The Voice

    What about Jonathan Pollard!!!!!!!

    November 25, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. Al

    How quickly all you Democrats forget all the Clinton pardons.

    November 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. Karen, Arkansas

    Does anyone know why this is a long standing tradition? Can we impeach King George the Boob before Jan 20th? It would be the right thing to do. Instead of issuing pardons George should have issued a resignation.

    November 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Did Bush talk to any Canadians before he pardoned Conrad Black? Clearly, Barbara Amiel was at the White House with a cheque book open.

    November 25, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Bush can't grant pardons in cases of treason, so that means he can't pardon himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove OR Libby.

    November 25, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Jr.

    Can a president pardon himself?
    Does anybody know?

    November 25, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Paula

    What amazes me is the aanger and misinformation of the citizens of this country. Is this the way they live their lives??!!

    November 25, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. Carl

    I noticed that Bush has done almost 1/3 less pardons than Clinton, but reading the liberal ignorance on these boards always puts a smile on my face.

    Many of you here are the reasons this country stays divided and will stay hurt, with severe problems that will last until this country falls from within...

    Thanks, you PC liberal scum, and thanks to the Christian right wing conservatives that think the Bible and law do not differ....

    The ignorance on both sides is killing this country, and I thank you for not selecting me in either group...

    November 25, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  23. May justice be served

    Free Pollard!

    November 25, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Mimi

    The headline is "Who will Bush pardon?"

    It should be in proper English "Whom will Bush pardon?"

    Strange that even cnn journalists don't know the English grammar.

    November 25, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. kingjaime

    On his way out office im sure he'l pardon many controversial people, just like he did his daughters.

    November 25, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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