By considering a Martha Stewart pardon, President Donald Trump may be trying to set a precedent that lying under oath should not be punished as harshly as she was, according to an entertainment lawyer.
“Reading between the lines, the president here is looking at the one area where Martha Stewart ended up really getting in hot water, which is under the federal false statements act,” attorney Seth Berenzweig told Neil Cavuto during a FOX Business interview on Thursday. “She was not convicted of any kind of substantive crime, but she was convicted of a false statement to a federal authority.”
Stewart pleaded guilty in 2004 to charges including lying to federal investigators during an insider trading investigation and served five months in prison. The prosecutor in the case was James Comey, who later became FBI director and was fired by Trump. Stewart also settled civil charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is currently awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversation with Russia’s ambassador.
Trump is also thinking about commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The president’s announcement regarding Stewart and Blagojevich followed a decision earlier in the day to grant a pardon for the conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws.
Blagojevich, who was once a contestant on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” began his 14-year prison sentence in 2012 after being found guilty of corruption-related charges. His scheduled release date is 2024.
“Now, he is friendly with Trump, and this president likes to show his power, and he might go ahead,” attorney Debra Blum told Cavuto.
The Illinois Democrat was accused of soliciting bribes for political appointments including the vacancy created by then-Sen. Barack Obama when he decided to run for president.