Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Trump says he's considering pardon for Muhammad Ali

Trump floats possibility of pardoning Muhammad Ali Trump may pardon deceased boxing great Muhammad Ali
Jeannette Daniel | 10 June, 2018, 17:16

President Donald Trump is looking to pardon another combat sports legend, according to reports.

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.

Ali refused to enter the military during the Vietnam war and his local draft board rejected his application for classification as a conscientious objector.

Ali, who was known as Cassius Clay before converting to Islam, was sentenced to five years in jail and fined $10,000 for refusing to enter the US military when he was drafted during the Vietnam War.

"What I'm going to do is I'm going to say to them, instead of talk - it's all talk, talk, talk ..." "And shoot them for what?" How can I shoot them poor people? "Just take me to jail".

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

More news: At a fashion show, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade remembered

Ali eventually became licensed again, however, and he went on to have a storied boxing career that lasted until 1981. He won three heavyweight titles and, in 1960, one gold Olympic medal.

It's awkward because it would create an uncomfortable comparison - Ali's conviction in his boxing prime for taking a moral stand against the draft contrasts with the multiple deferments, including one for heel spurs, that Trump received.

But there's a little problem with offering to pardon Muhammad Ali: he doesn't actually need a pardon.

The president has said he's considering commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving 14 years in prison for corruption, and pardoning celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart, who served about five months on charges connected to an insider trading case. The vote was 8-0, with Justice Thurgood Marshall abstaining.

"It is indisputably clear, for the reasons stated, that the department was simply wrong as a matter of law in advising that the petitioner's beliefs were not religiously based and were not sincerely held", the court ruled. Justice Thurgood Marshall recused himself because he had been solicitor general when Ali was prosecuted. Harlan returned to the Court the next day and, convinced of Ali's sincerity after reading the text, switched sides.

However, the 1960 Olympics silver medallist appealed against his conviction, and the US Supreme Court handed a unanimous verdict in his favour in 1971.

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