Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

President Trump considering pardon of boxing great Muhammad Ali

President Trump considering pardon of boxing great Muhammad Ali

US President Donald Trump is considering pardoning boxing legend Muhammad Ali for his draft dodging conviction.

But Ron Tweel, an attorney for Ali, who died in 2016, pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali's conviction in 1971.

President Donald Trump's widely-mocked trial balloon of pardoning Muhammad Ali gave the legendary boxer's former wife the opportunity to suggest a better course for the commander-in-chief. The unanimous decision overturned Ali's 1967 conviction, meaning his application for conscientious objector status should have been granted and he was not a draft dodger.

President Donald Trump worked overtime to stay at top of the news cycle this morning, announcing he might pardon Muhammad Ali, revealing details of his wife's surgery, and arguing to return Russian Federation to the G-7 summit.

Mr Trump said his team was "looking at literally thousands of names" of people for potential pardons because they were treated unfairly or their sentences were too long.

"I m thinking about Muhammad Ali".

"He was, look, he was not very popular then, certainly his memory is popular now", Trump said.

Although Trump's statement about being treated unfairly was true, his willingness to pardon something that isn't there is not.

Ali regained the boxing title in 1974.

Asked if he will pardon former campaign aides such as Paul Manafort, indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump said, "They haven't been convicted of anything". Four years after he was convicted by a jury in Houston, sentenced to five years in prison and then stripped of his heavyweight championship by boxing commissions, the Court declared that Ali was improperly drafted in the first place.

'There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed'.

"The power to pardon is a lovely thing", he added.

Jeffrey Couch, a law professor at American University and the author of a book on presidential pardons, questioned why Trump was undertaking the legal project now.

The president has issued a number of pardons recently, including for first time drug offender Alice Marie Johnson whose case was championed by Kim Kardashian West.

The president said the athletes have "seen a lot of abuse" and "a lot of unfairness" and that he wants their input on his use of this executive power.

"President Trump has spent much of his first 18 months in office degrading National Football League players who protest police brutality and racial injustice".

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