President Bush’s latest pardons do not include high-profile criminals who still hope the president will grant them clemency in his final weeks in office, the Associated Press reports. Yesterday, Bush granted pardons to 14 people and commuted the prison sentences of two others whose misdeeds included dealing drugs, evading taxes, killing bald eagles, or mishandling hazardous waste. The list did not include any well-known convicts, such as junk bond dealer Michael Milken, who is seeking a pardon on securities fraud charges, or two politicians convicted of public corruption – former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) and four-term Democratic Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards.
It is not clear whether Bush plans to give legal protection to government employees – in case they are charged – in connection with their role in harsh interrogators of terrorist suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Julie Stewart, president and founder of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, an advocacy group, applauded Bush’s decision to commute the sentence of two people serving long mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.