Criminal Justice

Alan Dershowitz played a role in at least 12 of Trump's clemency grants

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Alan Dershowitz 2020

Alan Dershowitz argues on the floor of the U.S. Senate during the impeachment trial of then-President Donald Trump in January 2020. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, helped at least 12 people obtain grants of clemency from former President Donald Trump, including two people who received pardons.

Dershowitz had defended Trump during his first impeachment trial, and that increased interest in his legal services from those seeking a sentencing reprieve, the New York Times reports.

Dershowitz told the newspaper that defending Trump and seeking clemency spring from his work defending individual rights against a justice system that can be harsh.

He’s not an influence peddler, Dershowitz said. More than half of his clemency work was pro bono, done mostly for existing clients, he said. When he did get paid, he charged an hourly fee that matched the rate of senior law firm partners, he said.

The New York Times listed some of the cases in which Dershowitz was involved. They include:

• Dershowitz helped obtain commutations for three people convicted of white-collar crimes after he worked on the cases for a Jewish prisoners’ rights group.

• Dershowitz helped obtain commutations for several people who received longer sentences after trial than offered in plea deals. The “trial penalty” has long concerned Dershowitz.

• Dershowitz didn’t seek the pardons given to conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr., a former chief of staff for former Vice President Dick Cheney. But when Trump sought out his opinion, Dershowitz recommended clemency. He made the same recommendation when asked about former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who received a sentence commutation.

Dershowitz told the New York Times that he didn’t always succeed in his clemency requests. One case that troubled Dershowitz was that of an inmate who was 18 at the time of the murder that put him on death row. The inmate was executed in December.

See also: “Trump lawyer Dershowitz acknowledges many disagree with his take on ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’”

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