President Trump said on Friday that he is considering pardoning Muhammad Ali, a boxing legend who died two years ago and was convicted of refusing to be drafted during the Vietnam War. But it was not immediately clear what Mr. Trump sought to pardon, as Mr. Ali’s conviction was overturned nearly 50 years ago.
“I’m thinking about that very seriously,” Mr. Trump said of the possible pardon before he left Washington on Friday morning for the G-7 financial summit in Canada.
Mr. Ali had fought his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1971 granted him the conscientious-objector status he had sought.
Mr. Ali’s attorney, Ron Tweel, said the pardon was not necessary. But he thanked Mr. Trump for the consideration.
The president recently pardoned another late boxing legend, Jack Johnson, who was convicted in 1913 for transporting a white woman across state lines. Mr. Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, served 10 months in a federal prison for his racially-tainted crime.
Mr. Trump has been embroiled by the ongoing special counsel investigation into his presidential campaign’s ties with Russia and whether he tried to obstruct justice. In recent weeks, he has drawn positive media coverage by considering how broadly he might exercise what appears to be the president’s unlimited authority to pardon people who have been convicted of federal crimes.
The president has been praised for granting clemency to Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old who was serving a life sentence in prison for a nonviolent drug conviction. Her case was championed by TV celebrity Kim Kardashian West, who met with Mr. Trump at the White House last month.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Eileen Sullivan