Trump’s ‘Chaotic’ Pardons Leave Recipients Exposed to ‘Legal Jeopardy’

At least several individuals who were pardoned by former President Donald Trump during his time in the White House are now once again in legal trouble.

Experts blame the “informal and chaotic” approach that POTUS 45 took to granting clemency without sticking to standard Justice Department procedures, according to a report.

Circumventing the Department of Justice Process

There have been warnings before – particularly by leftist critics – about President Trump’s unorthodox approach to issuing pardons.

Still, new commentaries on the matter are now noting its increasingly visible legal implications for an unprecedented number of recipients of a presidential pardon.

According to a report by ABC News, Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of 238 people during his four years in the White House; at least ten of those have been under legal scrutiny since then.

The cases include Trump pardon recipients who have been convicted, charged with a crime, or under investigation.

The report cites legal experts as saying such a development is “unprecedented,” but could have been expected because of how the 45th president went about pardons and sentence commuting.

Trump’s pardon process was “informal and fairly chaotic,” according to Margaret Love, an attorney to pardon-seeking clients. Love is also a former US pardon attorney and a Justice Department official advising presidents on the matter.

She noted the former Republican president “bypassed the formal and orderly” process for pardons of the US Justice Department.

Love argued in some cases of granting clemency, Trump used his “personal views,” while in others, he took the opinion of acquaintances or persons who managed to access him.

According to the lawyer, it would have been easy to forecast some of those pardoned in such a manner would “get in trouble once again.”


Trump’s Clemency Grantees ‘Recidivate’ at High Rates

The report mentions three of the no fewer than ten cases of Trump pardon receipts under renewed legal scrutiny. The first one is that of Kenneth Kurson, an ex-newspaper official, who in February pleaded guilty to charges of cyberstalking his former wife.

Later in 2022, Kodak Black, a rapper, got arrested in Florida on felony drug charges. He pleaded not guilty.

In a third case, Jesse Benton, a political operative, was found guilty by jurors of performing illegal transactions with Russian money in a group that was aligned with Trump.

The former president granted all three persons mentioned above clemency while he was still in office.

The report stresses that many of the individuals whom Trump pardoned were his political allies and friends – including lawmakers, former aides, and celebrities.

Their crimes ranged from murder to fraud. Some of the pardon recipients were four private US military contractors who were sentenced to prison for killing 17 Iraqis in 2007, including two children.

Two Ivy League professors reported only 25 of the 238 cases in which Trump issued pardons were processed by the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the US Justice Department.

The office’s job is to review the merits of clemency applications to decide whether to recommend a person for pardon.

According to Larry Kupers, who was the acting US pardon attorney at the start of the Trump administration, the clemency process is supposed to predict accurately who would not “recidivate” when proposing a person for a presidential pardon.

In the case of Trump’s pardons, however, the number of clemency grantees who committed additional crimes has been “disproportionately high.”

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.