Clinton pardons Hearst but not Peltier

 

Less than two hours before leaving office, the former US president Mr Bill Clinton pardoned Whitewater-scandal figure Ms Susan McDougal and one-time revolutionary and kidnapped heiress Ms Patricia Hearst Shaw.

But after lengthy discussions with his advisers, Mr Clinton decided not to pardon financier Michael Milken, Native American Leonard Peltier and former Justice Department official Webster Hubbell. He also declined a pardon for convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

Mr Clinton pardoned 140 people and commuted the sentences of 36 others. White House papers announcing the actions were released 90 minutes before his term expired. He also pardoned his half-brother Mr Roger Clinton, a musician who served a year in jail on a drug offense.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mr Henry Cisneros and former CIA Director Mr John Deutch also received pardons.

Mr Cisneros pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI about how much he paid a former mistress. He remains one of the most popular Hispanic politicians in the United States.

Mr Deutch has reportedly been negotiating with the Justice Department about possibly pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for keeping classified information on his home computers.

Mr Deutch, who was CIA director from May 1995 to December 1996, was stripped of his CIA and high-level defense intelligence clearances in August 2000 for mishandling classified information.

Among the 36 people receiving commutations was Mr Mel Reynolds, a former congressman who was sentenced in 1997 to 61/2 years in prison for bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

Mr Susan Rosenberg and Mr Linda Sue Evans, convicted in connection with a bombing plot that included an attack on the U.S. Capitol 1983, also received commutations.

Ms Patricia Hearst Shaw, better known as patty Hearst, an heiress to the Hearst fortune, was kidnapped by a terrorist group called the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974 and forced to rob a bank. But she maintains that she committed the crime after being mistreated by the group, including spending more than 50 days in a closet, and after being brainwashed.

When found, she was put on trial for grand theft and convicted. She served nearly two years of a seven-year prison term and was released with help from then president Mr Jimmy Carter. She later married her bodyguard and sought a full pardon, which an aide said Mr Carter also supported.

Mr Clinton yesterday cut a deal to escape criminal indictment in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, admitting he gave evasive and misleading testimony about the sexual affair that nearly cost him the presidency.

In return, an investigation into his alleged perjury and any plans to indict him have been dropped. As part of the deal, Mr Clinton accepted a five-year suspension of his license to practice law in Arkansas and paid a 25,000 Dollar fine.

Reuters