Executive Branch

High-Profile Lawyers Seek Pardons for Well-Known White-Collar Clients

As President Bush readies to leave office, well-connected lawyers are being hired to press for pardons for their convicted clients.

Among the lawyers are former solicitor general Ted Olson, hired to represent former junk-bond king Michael Milken, the Washington Post reports. Milken pleaded guilty in 1990 to securities violations after an insider trading investigation, the Post says in a blog post at Washington Post Investigations.

Another lawyer representing clemency clients is former White House lawyer H. Christopher Bartolomucci, now a partner at Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C. Bartolomucci worked on pardons in the White House from 2001 to 2003. The Post article does not name his clients.

So far, President George W. Bush has granted only 157 pardons out of 2,064 requests, and six commutations out of 7,707 requests, the story says. Pardons at the end of a term can raise fairness concerns. At the end of President Bill Clinton’s term, his pardons of his brother and fugitive financier Marc Rich raised some eyebrows.

Among those seeking a pardon is former Hollinger chairman Conrad Black, sentenced to 6½ years in prison for embezzling money from his company.

Two public officials convicted on corruption charges are seeking sentence commutations: former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

Another convicted politician, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, has told reporters he won’t seek a pardon following his conviction in October for failing to report gifts.

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