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Trump pardons 15 people, including George Papadopoulos and Duncan Hunter

In addition to the pardons, the president also issued some level of sentence commutation for five individuals.

Updated: December 23, 2020 - 2:25am

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President Trump pardoned 15 individuals on Tuesday, including George Papadopoulos and former Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican.

"I lost friends, business associates and even family over the last years," Papadopoulos tweeted. "Had my reputation tore up for a while with fake stories and nonsense. But there was one person who stood through it all with me until the end, my @simonamangiante. I love you! We both thank @realDonaldTrump!"

In addition to the pardons, the president also issued some level of sentence commutation for five individuals.

"Mr. Papadopoulos was charged with a process-related crime, one count of making false statements, in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election," according to a statement from the press secretary regarding the president's grants of clemency. "At the time that Mr. Papadopoulos allegedly made the false statements, he was not represented by counsel, and, after he was arrested, Mr. Papadopoulos gave additional information on his prior statements to the Special Counsel. Today’s pardon helps correct the wrong that Mueller’s team inflicted on so many people."

Regarding former congressman Hunter, the statement noted that in 2019 he "pled guilty to one count of misusing campaign funds, an offense that could have been handled as a civil case via the Federal Election Commission, according to former FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith. He was sentenced to 11 months’ imprisonment set to begin in January 2021," the statement noted.

Among the other individuals pardoned was Alfonso Costa, who "pled guilty to one count of health care fraud related to false billing, took full responsibility for his conduct, served two years of probation, and paid nearly $300,000 in fines and restitution," according to the statement.

The president also pardoned 89-year-old Alfred Lee Crum, who at the age of 19 pled guilty to assisting in unlawfully distilling moonshine in the state of Oklahoma.  He paid a fine and served a few years probation, and has since had a clean record for decades.

Trump also pardoned another former congressman, Chris Collins, who had represented a district in New York: "In 2019, Mr. Collins pled guilty to the charges of conspiring to commit securities fraud and making false statements to the FBI," the statement said. "Mr. Collins is currently serving his 26-month sentence."

Former Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were also granted pardons by President Trump, after President Bush had previously commuted their sentences. 

The statement said that "in 2005, they stopped an illegal alien trafficking 700 pounds of marijuana. When the illegal alien—who was thought to be armed—resisted arrest, Mr. Ramos shot the suspect, who fled back across the border. For this, Mr. Ramos and Mr. Compean were charged and convicted of assault, using a firearm during a crime of violence, and deprivation of civil rights."

Dutch national Alex van der Zwaan received a pardon: "Mr. van der Zwaan was charged with a process-related crime, one count of making false statements, in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. None of his underlying conduct was alleged to have been unlawful, nor did prosecutors note any prior criminal history. Mr. van der Zwaan is a Dutch national who voluntarily returned to the United States to correct his statements and surrendered his passport upon entry."

Four U.S. veterans who were charged in connection with an incident that occurred while they were working in Iraq as security contractors also got pardoned. Their names are Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard.

"These veterans were working in Iraq in 2007 as security contractors responsible for securing the safety of United States personnel," the statement explained. "When the convoy attempted to establish a blockade outside the 'Green Zone,' the situation turned violent, which resulted in the unfortunate deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians. Initial charges against the men were dismissed, but they were eventually tried and convicted on charges ranging from first degree murder to voluntary manslaughter. On appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that additional evidence should have been presented at Mr. Slatten’s trial. Further, prosecutors recently disclosed—more than 10 years after the incident—that the lead Iraqi investigator, who prosecutors relied heavily on to verify that there were no insurgent victims and to collect evidence, may have had ties to insurgent groups himself."

A man named Weldon Angelos, who had previously been released by judicial order following 13 years in prison, received a pardon from the president: "Because of mandatory minimums, Mr. Angelos was sentenced in 2002 to 55 years’ imprisonment for selling marijuana and carrying a handgun in the course of dealing," according to the statement. "The presiding judge called this excessive sentence 'unjust and cruel and even irrational.'"

President Trump also pardoned Philip Lyman: "Mr. Lyman is known to be a man of integrity and character who was serving as a county commissioner in Utah when he was subjected to selective prosecution for protesting the Bureau of Land Management’s closure of the Recapture Canyon to ATV riders. He had no other criminal history, but he was arrested and sentenced to 10 days in prison and nearly $96,000 in restitution," the statement said.

Also pardoned was Otis Gordon, who, "has become a Pastor at Life Changer’s International Ministries since his conviction for possession with intent to distribute," according to the statement.  

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