What's more, none of the 16 had applied for a pardon, because they refused to acknowledge U.S. authority.
Holder, who oversaw the Office of the Pardon Attorney, met with advocates for the prisoners at least nine times. The first Clinton pardon attorney recommended against a pardon. The second pardon attorney recommended neither for nor against clemency.
A month later, Clinton commuted their sentences as the prisoners re-leased a statement, suggested by Holder, that supported "a just and dignified solution to our colonial problem." It also noted that in liberation processes, there are "innocent victims" on all sides.
Rich and the Puerto Rican political prisoners have two things in common: They were clearly unrepentant; and they were so well connected politically that they got out of jail free anyway.
Former New York prosecutor James Comey wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the outrageous Rich pardon "may actually make" Holder a better AG "because he has learned a hard lesson about protecting the integrity of that great institution from political fixers." Maybe. Or maybe Holder is the consummate political fixer.
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