Opinion

President Trump: Pardon Caleb Bailey

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Posted: Jan 08, 2021 12:01 AM
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President Trump: Pardon Caleb Bailey

Source: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

Donald Trump’s critics have accused him of using the presidential pardon to free his political allies. The Washington Post calls the Trump clemency orders “nauseating” and seethes that Trump has freed more than 20 convicted criminals “whose only claim on a pardon is their political support of the president.”   

Actually, the Post has the story of Trump pardons upside down. The president should not pardon real criminals, but in far too many cases, Trump allies have received severe sentences from prosecutors and judges BECAUSE of their “political support of the president.”  

The most prominent cases include General Michael Flynn (who was railroaded by corrupt anti-Trump prosecutors) and Trump political campaign advisor Roger Stone – whose home was raided in a military-style raid of his home, as if he were a domestic terrorist. Both were handed punishments demanded by prosecutors and juries way out of proportion to any crime committed. Several Trump allies were imprisoned for lying to investigators in the Russia hoax investigation – in other words, for lying about crimes that were never committed.  

This is America. We don’t put our political enemies behind bars. That is what happens in China and banana republics. 

Consider the case of Caleb Bailey, a young man who resided in Charles County, Maryland – a deep-blue state not too friendly to Trump supporters. In 2016, the ATF raided Caleb’s home and he was found in illegal possession of several fully automatic rifles that weren’t properly registered. The ATF also accused Caleb of a flim-flam charge of possession of child pornography in his home. 

Caleb, whose family is far from rich and was represented by an inept lawyer, was cornered into pleading guilty. In a surreal sentencing hearing, the judge stated that “I do not believe that you pose any particular danger” and that “[t]here are no acts of violence that you have committed.” Yet, he was sentenced to prison for 16 and a half years in prison. Caleb was a first-time offender with NO prior criminal record and no incidents of violence in his entire life.  

None of the legal experts I have talked to and who have knowledge of this case have ever heard of a punishment like this for these infractions. The normal sentence for such a first-time conviction would be probation or at the very most a few years in prison maximum. 

Instead, Caleb’s prison sentence is longer than that of some convicted rapists, kidnappers, and armed robbers in Maryland. Talk about cruel and unusual. 

Why is Caleb now serving the 5th year of a 16.5-year sentence? Why was he so cruelly placed in solitary confinement when he arrived in prison? 

The answer is crystal clear: Caleb’s real crime was serving as a spokesman and delegate from Maryland in 2016 for then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. The raid on his home – which involved a SWAT team of more than a dozen heavily armed agents occurred just a few weeks after he was appointed a Trump delegate. The agents mentioned his Trump association during the raid.   

That’s not all. The U.S. Attorney in Maryland at the time – the man who had supervision over the case – was Trump-hater Rod Rosenstein, the same Deputy Attorney General who played a lead role in the Russia collusion hoax investigations. The same man who discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for being unfit. Coincidence?  

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Scores of prominent Marylanders who know Caleb and are familiar with the case have supported his release. Major community leaders, law enforcement personnel, and other dignitaries in Charles County and around the country have signed a letter asking Trump to “Free Caleb Bailey.” Even the prison authorities where he is locked up in rural Virginia vouch that he has been a model prisoner with no incidents of bad behavior or violence. They support his release. 

A Trump pardon here is important beyond the act of justice and mercy that Caleb so profoundly deserves. Liberal prosecutors, state attorneys and judges cannot be allowed to hijack the criminal justice system to make supporting Trump a punishable offense.  It’s going to get worse. More than a few in the Biden camp have called for show-trials of Trump supporters.  It’s scary and a little Orwellian. 

This perversion of justice cannot stand. This is what is truly “nauseating.” Donald Trump must use his pardon power to free Caleb Bailey and many others who have been put in prison cells for the “crime” of supporting him.

Stephen Moore is a cofounder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and an economist with FreedomWorks