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Trump issues pair of pardons to conservative advocate, former publisher

Updated 5:14 AM ET, Thu May 16, 2019

Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump granted full pardons to a conservative advocate and a former newspaper publisher who recently wrote a book praising the President, the White House announced Wednesday.

The White House said Trump offered clemency to Patrick Nolan, a former Republican legislator who allied with Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, on prison revisions last year, and to Lord Conrad M. Black of Crossharbour, a Canadian-born former newspaper publisher who authored a book titled "Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other."

Both men have been out of prison for several years.

Nolan is the director of the Center for Criminal Justice Reform at the American Conservative Union Foundation, and, according to his biography page from that group, he pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge after an FBI sting and spent 29 months in federal custody. The White House said the experience "changed his life" and formed his later career as a conservative advocate for criminal justice revisions, including with the First Step Act, the criminal justice bill Trump signed into law last year. CNN has reached out to the White House to ask about Nolan's connections to the criminal justice effort and Wednesday's pardon.

"Family and friends have long sought clemency for Mr. Nolan, alongside notable advocates like former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and author Arnold Steinberg," the White House said. "In light of these facts, Mr. Nolan is entirely deserving of this Grant of Executive Clemency."

Black, the other recipient of a pardon Wednesday evening, is a former news publisher who was convicted on four counts of fraud in 2007. The White House said Black spent three-and-a-half years in prison.

Black once ran a newspaper conglomerate that published papers including The Daily Telegraph in London, the Chicago Sun-Times and The Jerusalem Post.

A description of Black's book on Trump compared it to two other presidential biographies he had written and said that this time around Black had turned "his attention to his 'friend' President Donald J. Trump." According to a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. report, Black was deported to Canada after completing his prison sentence.

In its announcement of clemency for Black, the White House cited an "impressive list" of people who had vouched for his character, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, singer Elton John, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh and the late William F. Buckley Jr., the creator of The National Review.

Shortly after the pardon was announced, Canada's National Post published an article from Black in which he continued to take issue with his conviction and said he was "at last, officially not guilty even in the conviction-mad United States."

Black said in the article that he had not spoken to Trump since the President had taken office and that when his assistant put a call through from the White House, he first thought it was a prank. He said Trump told him he was going to "expunge the bad wrap you got" and that the President authorized him he could say Trump thought it was an unjust verdict.

Earlier this month, Trump pardoned Michael Behenna, a former soldier who had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone by a military court.


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