Trump says he may pardon Muhammad Ali for draft evasion

Muhammad Ali relaxed in training in 1972

Image Muhammad Ali died in 2016

Last week, Trump told reporters he is considering pardoning lifestyle maven Martha Stewart, who was convicted in 2004 of obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a well-timed stock sale, and commuting the sentence of former IL governor Rod Blagojevich, D, who was convicted in 2010 of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama, among other campaign finance violations. "I am looking at Muhammad Ali", he said, before saying he wants to pardon people who aren't famous too. And he went through a lot.

"Look, he was not very popular then".

Like all of Trump's pardons so far, clemency for Ali would bypass the traditional Justice Department process for investigating pardon applications - relying instead on appeals from political allies or celebrities. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971.

Ali's lawyer, Ron Tweel, said: "We appreciate President Trump's sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary". The White House did not immediately comment on the lawyer's statement.

Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., is one of the most celebrated athletes in USA history.

Ali, who was known as Cassius Clay before converting to Islam, was sentenced to five years in jail and fined $10,000 for refusing to enter the US military when he was drafted during the Vietnam War.

Ali was stripped of his heavyweight crown in 1967. Ali's legal fight ended in 1971, when the Supreme Court ruled in his favour.

Ali would be the second boxer that Trump has posthumously pardoned this term.

Ali, who suffered from Parkinson's disease for more than 30 years, died at June 2016 at 74.

"I would get more thrill out of pardoning people nobody has heard of, like Alice yesterday", said Trump, referring to his commutation of Alice Johnson, a woman who served more than 20 years on a first-time drug charge. Johnson was convicted in 1913 for taking his white girlfriend across state lines for "immoral purposes" in violation of the Mann Act.

Trump said he has a list of 3,000 names of people who have been "treated unfairly" that he's considering executive clemency for.

He said he had been in contact with the widow after Trump's comments and they made a decision to issue a statement on behalf of the family. Trump just pardoned Jack Johnson, and he obviously has boxing, a sport he loves, on his mind.

Earlier this week, a White House official reportedly called pardons the president's new "favorite thing" to discuss and the billionaire is reportedly "obsessed" with them.

Johnson, who served nearly 22 years in federal prison for a first-time criminal offense, was pardoned this week.

Latest News