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Big-name convicts seek Bush's intervention

Nov. 24, 2008 at 10:04 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Some well-known convicts are pleading for mercy directly to U.S. President George Bush before he leaves office in January, administration officials said.

Among those seeking a presidential pardon are the so-called junk bond king, Michael Milken, who pleaded guilty to securities-related felonies; former Rep. Randy Cunningham, R-Calif., and former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, both convicted of public corruption, The Washington Post reported Monday.

How Bush will respond to direct appeals -- prompted by a backlog of applications at the Justice Department -- as his term ends remains to be seen, the Post said. The president granted 157 pardons of the 2,064 petitions so far during his tenure, and only six of 7,707 requests for commutations, an analysis by former Justice Department lawyer Margaret C. Love indicates.

Notably absent is Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who recently was convicted of failing to disclose more than a quarter-million dollars in gifts and home renovations on his Senate financial disclosure forms. Stevens, who lost his re-election bid, said he would not ask Bush to intervene.

Justice Department statistics indicate 103 felons submitted pardon applications and 280 sought commutation of their sentences last month alone. Processing can take up to 18 months.

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