The pardons from Manafort and Stone reward two of the most high-profile and widely condemned former advisers to the president, both of whom were indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, went to trial and were convicted by juries for multiple crimes.
Manafort, who serves a home jail term, initially agreed to cooperate with Mueller and then lied to prosecutors, while Stone never cooperated after lying to Congress to protect the president. Manafort spent close to two years in prison for bank and tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying and witnessing the conspiracy to conspire before being released due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while Stone’s conviction for obstruction of Congress and threats of a witness were rewritten by Trump earlier in the year days before he was set to surrender.
He eventually pleaded guilty to 16 charges of tax evasion, one of which was retaliation for a federal witness – his brother-in-law – and another for lying to the federal election commission.
Also included on Trump’s pardon list Wednesday night is the former California GOP rep. Duncan Hunter’s wife, Margaret, just a day after Trump gave Duncan Hunter full pardon. Margaret Hunter had pleaded guilty last year to having put together “deliberately and willingly” to convert campaign funds for personal use.
In addition to the high-profile pardons, Trump also pardoned more than 20 other individuals, including those who had pleaded guilty to various cybercrime, firearms possession and mail fraud. He also commuted the sentences of three others.
This is a groundbreaking story and will be updated.