From left to right, Michael Milken, Bernard Kerik and Rod Blagojevich (File photo)
US President Donald Trump has come under fire for granting clemency to Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, convicted in 2011 by a federal jury in Chicago on 17 counts.
The ex-Illinois governor was convicted of trying to sell the US Senate seat vacated when President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 among others.
Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison and has been serving his prison time at a Colorado federal prison since 2012, was released from the federal prison in Englewood, the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement on Tuesday.
Trump has for long said he thinks Blagojevich had served enough time and been treated unfairly.
"He served eight years in jail, thatís a long time, and I watched his wife on television, I donít know him very well, I met him a couple of times, he was on for a short time on íThe Apprenticeí years ago, seemed like a very nice person, donít know him, but he served eight years in jail, thereís a long time to go," he said Tuesday.
Trump also gave pardons to Michael Milken, once considered Wall Streetís "junk bond king," as well as six others, while commuting the sentences of another three people.
Speaking of Milken, who was indicted in 1989 in an insider trading probe and then pleaded guilty to securities violations, Trump said, "We have Mike Milken whoís gone around and done an incredible job for the world with all of his research on cancer."
After paying $1.1 billion and serving about two years in prison, he has headed the non-profit Milken Institute that works on a wide span of studies, including curing cancer, public health, aging, California and financial markets.
The people Trump has pardoned were convicted on charges including defrauding the federal government and theft among others.
Trumpís move to pardon these people was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans.
"Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois, and not once has he shown any remorse for his clear and documented record of egregious crimes that undermined the trust placed in him by voters," five Republican congressmen from the state said in a joint statement.
Referring to Blagojevich and Milken, Democratic US Representative Bill Pascrell said, "The pardoning of these disgraced figures should be treated as another national scandal by a lawless executive."
Trump also pardoned former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who received a prison sentence of four years in 2010 for tax fraud and for making false statements.
In addition, the president pardoned Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers football team, who pleaded guilty in 1998 to not reporting a felony related to payment demanded for a riverboat casino license in a bribery scheme.
In total, Trump granted clemency to 11 convicted criminals, including three women on Tuesday.
SOURCE: PRESS TV