Moonies back presidential pardon for Conrad Black
Conrad Black's quest for a presidential pardon has attracted a prominent cult leader.
It appears that Conrad Black, the former proprietor of the Daily Telegraph now jailed in Florida for corporate fraud, has a new supporter in his desperate bid to convince George Bush that he is deserving of a presidential pardon. Coming hard on the heels of Black's adulatory hymn to Dubya in the Canadian paper, the National Post, in which he praised Bush's economic record and the outcome of the war in Iraq, the Rev Sun Myung Moon, the Korean cult leader of the Moonies, has sprung into action.
In Monday's Washington Times, which is owned by Rev Moon, carries an editorial saying the fallen media tycoon was "harshly punished" and his six-and-a-half-year sentence should be commuted. "Black has already paid $6.1 million to Hollinger International Inc, the company whose shareholders were defrauded, and a fine of $125,000. We urge the president to commute his sentence."
But even the assistance of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon may not help Lord Black. Last month, the National Post reported that Bush is pretty stingy with his pardons.
Securing a presidential pardon — or any kind of executive clemency — will be a major challenge, despite Lord Black’s political connections in conservative circles.
For one, President Bush has been the stingiest in modern times when exercising his absolute power to pardon or commute the sentence of any felon.
Since assuming power in 2001, President Bush has issued 142 pardons to people who have served entire prison terms, and five sentence commutations, including former White House aide, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice last year.
Compare that with 456 pardons and commutations for former president Bill Clinton during his two terms in office during the 1990s, and George H. W. Bush, who granted 75 full pardons and three commutations during his one-term as president in 1989 to 1993.
“This president has been very principled and sparing in his pardons,” explained Margaret Colgate-Love, a former Department of Justice Pardon Attorney, responsible for recommending presidential pardons to the White House.
“He has no track record that would lead anybody to expect that [Bush] would do something like that for Lord Black,” she said.