Trump pardons 15 people, including Blackwater guards

TEHRAN, Dec. 23 (MNA) – The US president Trump on Wednesday morning ordered the pardon of 15 people, including several close to the Republican Party, four US soldiers convicted of killing Iraqi civilians and Blackwater Company's guards.

In an audacious pre-Christmas round of pardons, President Trump granted clemency on Tuesday to two people who pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s Russia inquiry, four Blackwater guards convicted in connection with the killing of Iraqi civilians and three former Republican members of Congress.

One of the most notable pardons went to George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign and who pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to federal officials as part of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who pleaded guilty to the same charge in 2018 in connection with the special counsel’s inquiry, was also pardoned. Both he and Papadopoulos served short prison sentences, New York Times reported.

He also ordered the pardon of four American soldiers from the Blackwater Company who had been convicted of killing Iraqi civilians.

The US president also rejected a congressional plan to help those affected by the coronavirus and called for its amendment.

The New York Times previously reported that Trump had put his family members on his amnesty list for fear of being targeted by US President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump has already pardoned his first national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who pleaded guilty twice to charges including lying to the F.B.I. in connection with the Russia inquiry. In July, the president commuted the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr., his longtime adviser who was convicted on a series of charges related to the investigation. Both men have maintained their innocence.

However, under US law, pardoning these individuals, and even Trump himself, only protects them from being prosecuted for federal crimes, and state courts can still try to prosecute them.


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