Trump issues pardon of former owner of San Francisco 49ers


FILE PHOTO: Former San Francisco 49ers great Jerry Rice (R) poses with former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and his bust after being accepted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio August 7, 2010.REUTERS/Aaron Josefczy/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump issued a pardon for Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers football team, a White House spokesman told reporters on Tuesday.

DeBartolo Jr. pleaded guilty in 1998 to a felony charge of failing to report that Louisiana’s former governor, Edwin Edwards, had extorted $400,000 from him to win a license for his riverboat casino, the San Francisco Chronicle reported at the time.

He avoided prison in the case, but agreed to pay penalties of $1 million, serve two years of probation and testify in the trials against the former governor and the former governor’s son, the Chronicle reported.

DeBartolo Jr., whose team won five Super Bowl titles during his tenure as owner, was selected to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

Edwards was convicted here of extortion in 2000 in the awarding of the casino licenses.

Trump has visibly relished using his presidential pardon power, issuing pardons of late boxer Jack Johnson; Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of an Arizona county; and ex-White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby, among others.

He has also raised eyebrows by saying he could pardon himself and declining to publicly rule out pardons for some of his associates who have been sentenced to prison for charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump also commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old African American woman whose case was championed by reality television star Kim Kardashian West.

Trump brought Johnson to his annual State of the Union address to Congress last year and featured her in a 30-second campaign ad that was played during the Super Bowl.

Reporting by Makini Brice and Jeff Mason; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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