President Trump Forgot the Most Important Pardon
by Shari Dovale
President Trump added to his list of pardons and commutations this week, with 11 people reaping these benefits. Trump granted full pardons to seven people and commuted, or shortened, the sentences of four others.
The range of crimes in which President Trump showed mercy went from marijuana smuggling to Medicare fraud, and more. There were some high profile cases as well, including:
- Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat who appeared as a guest on Trump’s television program “Celebrity Apprentice,” was convicted of trying to sell the Senate seat left open when Obama became president. Trump is said to have felt that Blagojevich was treated “very, very unfairly.”
- Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner, pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to report a felony, and received a $1 million fine and two years of probation in return for his testimony against former governor of Louisiana Edwin Edwards.
In all, the reprieves this week mean that he has granted 25 pardons and issued 10 commutations during his presidency.
But I did not see the name of Todd Engel on the list of pardons.
Todd Engel is serving 14 years for standing up for the US Constitution. Engel traveled to Nevada to support the people whose rights he saw being violated.
Engel, from North Idaho, was considered one of the “least culpable” of the Bunkerville defendants. Along with other “tier 3” defendants, he was charged with 10 charges, including conspiracy charges and multiple gun charges that carried mandatory minimum sentencing requirements.
Engel was convicted of 2 out of the 10 charges, neither of them having mandatory minimums or firearm enhancements.
The case against Cliven Bundy and the other defendants. considered the “leaders” in the standoff was dismissed with prejudice on January 8, 2018 by Judge Gloria Navarro, citing prosecutorial misconduct and several Brady violations of withholding evidence.
What has not been addressed is that this same evidence was used against Todd Engel and the other defendants tried prior to the Bundy’s. The same results should have applied to all of the other defendants.
It seemed as if Todd Engel was going to bear the brunt of the court’s frustration, as he was sentenced to 14 years for his minimal participation in the event.
It is time for President Trump to acknowledge Todd Engel and the other Bunkerville defendants that have not received fair treatment under the law. Their sentences reflect political issues, rather than violent crimes.
Political prisoners have a tendency to be overlooked when it comes time to pardon people. Let’s break that cycle here, and now.
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