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Trump Pardons Ex-California Legislator and Prison Reformer Pat Nolan

Trump Pardons Ex-California Legislator and Prison Reformer Pat Nolan
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Thursday, 16 May 2019 06:09 AM Current | Bio | Archive

On Wednesday night, the national press focused on President Trump granting a full pardon to Conrad Black and restoring his civil rights after the onetime press lord spent three-and-one-half years in prison following his conviction for fraud and obstruction of justice.

Far less reported was another Executive Grant of Clemency (full pardon) the President granted to former California Assembly Republican Leader Pat Nolan, who spent 33 months in prison during the 1990’s following his conviction in an FBI-run "Shrimpscam" sting.

The news of Nolan’s clemency cheered fellow Golden State conservatives who have long felt he was brought down for a "created crime."

"The president’s granting of clemency is not only warranted — but is a rebuke of the prosecutorial overreach that resulted in Pat being forced to plead guilty to an alleged crime he never committed," Jon Fleischmann, editor of the much-read "Flash Report" on California politics, told Newsmax. 

After his indictment in 1993, Nolan told this reporter how people he thought were legitimate businessmen came to his Sacramento office several years earlier  seeking assistance in creation of an "enterprise zone" that included the shrimp industry in the waterfront of a major city. 

"I was a 'Jack Kemp Republican,'" said Nolan, referring to the New York congressman who championed enterprise zones in urban America, "and enterprise zones were the kind of thing I was happy to support."

As Nolan began to guide legislation toward enactment, the same "businessmen" also gave him "donations" to two political action committees. 

It turned out that the "businessmen" were actually FBI agents who recorded Nolan accepting the donations.  There was no "quid pro quo," he insisted, because this was the kind of measure he would support with or without their financial backing. (As the Nolan’s measure headed toward enactment in the legislature, the FBI warned the late Gov. George Deukmejian not to sign it because this was not a genuine enterprise zone).

"In 1994, Mr. Nolan had to make a difficult choice," read the official White House statement on his pardon, "He could defend himself against charges of public corruption and risk decades in prison, or he could plead guilty and accept a 33-month sentence.  Determined to help his wife raise their three young children, Mr. Nolan chose to accept the plea."

After his release from prison, Nolan was recruited by Charles Colson’s Prison Ministries to run its Justice Fellowship that is dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system.   Using his political skills, the Californian has reached out to civil rights groups and to the political left to craft the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect the religious liberties of prisoners.  Moreover, Nolan has been a force behind the Second Chances legislation to assist prisoners’ re-entry into society.

At 68, disbarred and his once-bright political career destroyed, Pat Nolan is a man of consequence.  Now, in the eyes of the law, he is also a free man.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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On Wednesday night, the national press focused on President Trump granting a full pardon to Conrad Black and restoring his civil rights after the onetime press lord spent three-and-one-half years in prison following his conviction for fraud and obstruction of justice...
trump, nolan, pardon, FBI, created crime, colson
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2019-09-16
Thursday, 16 May 2019 06:09 AM
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