President Trump has said he is considering a posthumous pardon for the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali, even though Ali’s attorney has called it “unnecessary.”
Trump made the comments to reporters as he left the White House on Friday morning (June 8) for the G7 summit in Canada. “I’m thinking about Muhammad Ali. I’m thinking about that very seriously and some others,” he said, referring to his presidential power to pardon those convicted of federal crimes.
It’s unclear what exactly Trump intends to pardon, given that Ali’s draft-dodging conviction was overturned in 1971 when the champion fighter took the case to the Supreme Court.
Following the president’s comments, Ali’s attorney, Ron Tweel, released a statement, saying, “We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary. The US Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971.” (via CNN)
He added: “There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed.”
Last month, Trump granted a posthumous pardon to another boxer, Jack Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight champion, who served 10 months in a federal prison after being convicted of taking a white woman across state lines.
The president was recently praised for commuting the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old great-grandmother who was serving life in prison on drug-trafficking charges. Trump had previously met with reality star Kim Kardashian, a champion of Johnson’s case, to discuss the pardon.
Trump said on Friday that Ali was just one of 3,000 names he was considering pardoning; he recently suggested pardons for Martha Stewart and former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich.