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Trump Pardons Campaign Advisers, Blackwater Contractors

Then-President Donald Trump arrives for a presentation in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington,D.C., November 24, 2020. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

President Trump on Tuesday announced a wave of 15 pardons and commutations, including clemency for high-profile individuals convicted during the Mueller investigation, three former Republican congressmen, and four military contractors convicted of killing Iraqi civilians.

Among those pardoned by the president are George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign who pled guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation and spent 12 days in jail, and Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who pled guilty to lying to Mueller investigators and served 30 days in prison.

The president also pardoned four Blackwater guards convicted of killing Iraqi civilians as well as former congressmen Duncan Hunter of California, Chris Collins of New York, and Steve Stockman of Texas.

Trump commuted the prison sentence of Stockman, who was convicted in 2018 of misusing charitable funds. Stockman “has underlying pre-existing health conditions that place his health at greater risk during the COVID epidemic, and he has already contracted COVID while in prison,” the White House said in a statement.

Hunter pled guilty to misusing campaign funds. Collins pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI.

Trump granted pardons to three women, Crystal Munoz, Tynice Nichole Hall, and Judith Negron, who were convicted of drug crimes. The president pardoned the women at the recommendation of Alice Johnson, a former federal inmate whose sentence Trump commuted after Kim Kardashian West brought attention to her case.

Two former Border Patrol agents who were convicted of assaulting an illegal immigrant trafficking 700 pounds of marijuana in 2005 were also pardoned.

Also pardoned were Alfonso Costa, a Pittsburgh dentist who pled guilty to health care fraud related to false billing, Alfred Lee Crum, 89, who pled guilty in 1952 to illegally distilling moonshine in Oklahoma, Weldon Angelos, who was convicted of selling marijuana and carrying a handgun in the course of dealing, Philip Lyman, a former county commissioner in Utah who was sentenced for protesting the government’s closure of the Recapture Canyon to ATV riders, and Otis Gordon, who was convicted of drug possession with intent to distribute. Philip Esformes, who was convicted of paying bribes in a Medicare fraud case, had some of his prison sentence commuted.

Last month, Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. He is expected to issue more pardons before he leaves office in January.

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