Muhammad Ali's lawyer says Trump's proposed pardon 'out of the blue'


Last month, Trump posthumously granted clemency another boxer Jack Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight champion who was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act for taking his white girlfriend across state lines for "immoral" purposes. In 1966, Ali was drafted into the military to serve in the Vietnam War. His decision resulted in a draft-evasion conviction, and he was stripped of his heavyweight boxing crown.

Ali was sentenced to five years in prison for dodging the draft but never went to prison as he appealed his case to the US Supreme Court, which quashed the conviction in 1971.

Trump, like Ali, dodged the Vietnam War - a battle he famously compared to avoiding sexually transmitted diseases - but did so through legal means.

The problem? Ali, who was also an activist and philanthropist, has no criminal record to pardon.

Late boxing legend Muhammad Ali was convicted of draft evasion for his Vietnam War protest and stripped of his
Trump floats possibility of pardoning Muhammad Ali

Trump in recent weeks has reveled in his power to pardon.

"The power to pardon is a attractive thing", Trump told reporters. Trump revealed in April that he was considering a full pardon after hearing about it from actor Sylvester Stallone.

On the heels of the recent commutation and release of convicted drug offender Alice Marie Johnson, President Trump is now considering a posthumous pardon for boxing legend and humanitarian Muhammad Ali.

Following the good deed, Trump announced plans for other presidential pardons on Friday. The president has recently mooted pardons for lifestyle personality Martha Stewart and former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich.

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Trump told reporters Friday his team is now "looking at literally thousands" of people who have come to their attention because they've been treated unfairly or their sentences are too long.

He also issued a pardon to Dick Cheney s former chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was convicted of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the leak of a Central Intelligence Agency operative s identity.

At the time, Ali had told reporters that he "ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong".

Ali's attorney, Ron Tweel, thanked the president, but noted that a pardon was not necessary.

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"My conscience won't let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America", he said at the time.

"I think [Trump] probably was a fan of Ali and he thought he would say something positive about him".

With that, Ali's conviction was void.

The similarities between Ali and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the controversial protests against racism and police violence by kneeling during the national anthem, have been noted by those who have studied two men.

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