Trump says he may pardon Muhammad Ali for draft evasion

Trump says he may pardon Muhammad Ali for draft evasion

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out the conviction four years later, so it's unclear why President Trump would offer a pardon to the former heavyweight and Olympic champ Muhammad Ali.

Ali's legal fight ended in 1971, when the Supreme Court ruled in his favour, reversing his conviction on a technicality.

Trump's musing about an Ali pardon was blasted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who accused the president of "nothing more than grandstanding".

In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali's conviction in a unanimous decision, accepting Ali's argument that he should be excused on religious grounds.

Ali was arrested at the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in Houston, went on trial and was convicted of draft evasion.

Trump has already granted clemency to a number people, and told reporters on Friday that "there will be more pardons". "None of that. This was all spontaneous and I think, as a lot of people like to say, impulsive".

"The pardons are a very positive things for a president", Trump said. "They've seen a lot of abuse and they've seen a lot of unfairness", he said.

"I'm thinking about somebody that you all know very well".

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"This was quite a surprise to everybody this morning when we heard about it", he said Friday during a phone interview. He was stripped of his boxing titles and license and fined $10,000.

And last month he gave a posthumous pardon to another boxer, Jack Johnson, who was convicted of taking his white girlfriend across state lines in 1913. And now he's considering another legendary boxer for a pardon: Muhammad Ali, who died in 2016 of Parkinson's disease.

The White House did not immediately respond to questions about why the president feels one is warranted.

In addition to the fact that Ali's conviction was eventually overturned, President Jimmy Carter issued a blanket pardon for draft evaders in 1977. Now, it looks like Trump is going on a pardoning spree. He faced a five-year prison sentence, but was allowed to remain free while appealing the decision.

The US presidential pardon allows a sitting commander-in-chief to grant clemency for federal crimes.

Earlier this week, Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a woman serving a life term for nonviolent drug-related offenses, after meeting with reality television star and socialite Kim Kardashian West to discuss the case.

He said if the players or the athletes have "a friend or people they know about who have been unfairly treated by the system, let me know".

"There will be more pardons", Trump said.