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Trump may pardon Ali who doesn't need one

11 June 2018

President Donald Trump says he may pardon another late heavyweight boxing champion - this time, Muhammad Ali.

But the conviction Ali would be pardoned for - evading the draft during the Vietnam War - was already overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. He received a draft-evasion conviction in 1967 and was stripped of his world heavyweight title. When the Supreme Court heard his case in 1971, all eight judges ruled in Ali's favor.

Trump has ramped up the use of his executive clemency power in recent weeks, granting pardons to the late heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson and the conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza, then commuting the sentence of 63-year-old Alice Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for drug offenses.

He said if the players or the athletes have "a friend or people they know about who have been unfairly treated by the system, let me know".

After a long battle with Parkinson's disease Muhammad Ali died in 2016. "I'm thinking about that very seriously and some others", Trump said, while speaking to reporters at the White House before departing for the Group of Seven summit.

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.

Besides criticizing Trump for offering something unnecessary, Sharpton said Trump's past "anti-Muslim and Islamophobic policies and rhetoric" were an affront to Ali's religion.

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Trump has reportedly become increasingly "obsessed" with pardons and enjoys talking about potential pardons with aides, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Ali's lawyer released a statement saying, "We appreciate President Trump's sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary".

A pardon does not technically erase a conviction; it is an expression of forgiveness from the president that, in most cases, serves to undo the punishment and help the recipient of the pardon restore rights, such as the right to vote. "I had a doctor that gave me a letter - a very strong letter on the heels", Trump said, though he did not provide the letter or remember the name of the doctor.

Ali won a gold medal in boxing at the 1960 Olympics. Last week, the president said he was considering pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

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

"I'm thinking about somebody that you all know very well".

Trump may pardon Ali who doesn't need one