Trump weighs leniency for Martha Stewart and Blagojevich, will pardon conservative Dinesh D'Souza
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will pardon conservative provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, and revealed he is weighing pardons or commutations for Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Stewart, who founded a lifestyle and home merchandising company, was convicted in 2004 on charges related to an insider stock trading case. Stewart sold stock based on a non-public tip she received and avoided a loss on her shares of ImClone Systems, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. She was found guilty at trial on several felony charges, including conspiracy and making false statements to federal investigators, and was sentenced to five months in prison.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, was impeached and removed from office in 2009 on corruption charges that he had solicited bribes for Barack Obama's open Senate seat. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison; he is currently serving his term at the low-security Federal Correctional Institute in Englewood, Colorado.
Trump's talk of pardons and commutations comes the day after reality television star Kim Kardashian went to the White House to press for prison reform and a pardon for Alice Marie Johnson, who is serving a life sentence for a first-time conviction on drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges. Trump has not said what he will do about Johnson.
More on Kardashian West's visit to the White House:
So far, Trump's mostly used his pardon power to grant reprieves to conservative celebrities. With the addition of D'Souza, his pardon list will stand at five.
The others: Joe Arpaio, an Arizona sheriff who is a favorite of immigration hard-liners; I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of obstructing justice and lying to authorities during an investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame; Kristian Mark Saucier, a Navy sailor who kept classified materials; and Jack Johnson, the African-American boxing legend who was convicted under a law that was used as a deterrent to interracial dating.
D'Souza, a best-selling author and filmmaker who has been sharply critical of former President Barack Obama and the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, made news most recently when he ridiculed the survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting after the Florida House's decision not to consider a ban on so-called assault weapons.
"Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs," D'Souza wrote on Twitter. He later apologized.
"I'm very relieved to have my record clean in a way that fully restores my faith in America, my American dream," D'Souza said in an interview on Laura Ingraham's radio program Thursday after Trump's announcement in which he accused the Obama administration of having "gansterized" politics. "Something that's hanging over you and you have the United States of America versus Dinesh D’Souza, and that is now gone."