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Trump floated the idea of pardoning Muhammad Ali — who doesn’t need a pardon

“We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary," Ali's family’s lawyer said.

by Alex Lubben
Jun 8 2018, 2:58pm

President Donald Trump is apparently so eager to pardon people that he’s considering issuing them to people who don’t even have convictions on their records.

"I'm thinking about Muhammad Ali. I'm thinking about that very seriously, and some others," Trump said on Friday.

But Ali’s conviction for draft dodging was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1971 in a unanimous decision. The government failed to specify why Ali’s application to be considered a conscientious objector was denied, and the court ruled that, as a result, his conviction wasn’t valid.

In response to Trump’s confusing statement, Ali’s family’s attorney responding saying essentially, thanks, but no thanks, according to CNN.

“We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary. The U.S Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971. There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed,” Ali’s family attorney said.

Trump has seemed obsessed with his pardon power in recent weeks, reportedly asking his staff to compile a list of dozens of people that he might pardon. Earlier this week, after meeting with reality TV star Kim Kardashian West who pressed the issue with the president, Trump pardoned Alice Johnson, a nonviolent drug offender who was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1996. He also recently pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, former vice presidential adviser Scooter Libby, and deceased boxing champion Jack Johnson. And in August 2017, he issued a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the controversial former Arizona sheriff who ran an infamous “tent city” jail for undocumented immigrants for over two decades.

But Trump isn’t just thinking about people who've already been convicted of crimes — he’s looking forward to people who might. Earlier this week, he floated the most high-profile name yet for a potential pardon: himself.

Cover image: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House for the G-7 summit in Washington, DC, on June 8, 2018. Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images.