Bush's top pardon prospects.

The law, lawyers, and the court.
Nov. 20 2008 7:00 AM

I Beg Your Pardon

The top prospects for a last act of Bush clemency.

(Continued from Page 2)

Kyle "Dusty" Foggo:possible. Foggo was Wilkes' childhood friend before he rose to become executive director of the CIA, the No. 3 position in the U.S. spy agency. He was indicted in 2007 on several counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering in connection with Wilkes and admitted to steering a lucrative CIA contract to his pal. Foggo remains under investigation by the CIA and other federal agencies. But his cooperation with investigators and years of service in the clandestine agency once run by Bush's father could make him a good candidate for clemency.



Jack Abramoff:no chance. The former Hollywood producer-turned-Republican lobbyist was at the center of the largest lobbying scandal in Washington, which erupted in 2005. Abramoff was convicted of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials. The sentence was reduced in September to four years in recognition of Abramoff's cooperation with investigators. That's all the break he'll get. Abramoff was such a disaster for Bush and the GOP that the White House refused to release any photos in which the president and Abramoff appeared in the same room at the same time.

J. Steven Griles: possible. Griles served as deputy secretary of the Interior during Bush's first term. In March 2007, he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges in connection with his 2005 Senate testimony regarding the Abramoff scandal. Griles was sentenced to 10 months in prison and fined $30,000. He was released this year. Griles' time served, combined with his senior position in the administration, make him a good candidate for a pardon.

David Safavian:unlikely. The senior White House procurement officer in the Office of Management and Budget was convicted in 2006 for concealment, making false statements, and obstructing justice in the Abramoff investigation. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the conviction was overturned in June. A retrial is set for December.



Michael Milken: excellent chance. The junk-bond king became the symbol of the '80s greed on Wall Street that led to insider-trading scandals and a stock-market crash. Milken was sentenced to eight years for conspiracy and fraud charges and ordered to pay $200 million in fines. But he was released in January 1993, after less than two years in prison. Milken, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer that year, has since devoted significant resources to philanthropy and has created several foundations to support cancer research. Milken, who is believed to be worth more than $1 billion, tried unsuccessfully to secure a pardon from President Clinton. He is currently represented by Washington powerhouse attorney Ted Olson, * Bush's longtime friend and first-term solicitor general. Olson also represented Armand Hammer, who received a pardon from former President George H.W. Bush.

The Smartest Guys in the Room:possible. Former Enron executives Jeffrey Skilling and Andrew Fastow were convicted of multiple federal felonies in 2006 in connection with Enron's downfall. Skilling, who was Enron's CEO, is serving a 24-year prison sentence at a federal penitentiary in Minnesota. Fastow, the corporate CFO, is nearing the end of his six-year sentence. Bush was friends with the now-deceased chairman, Kenneth Lay of Enron, which, of course, was based in Texas. But the president managed to distance himself from the company's extraordinary collapse. A point against pardons for these guys: Considering the current financial crisis, rewarding Enron's failed leadership might not be smart.

Martha Stewart:Why not? Millions of glue-gun aficionados would love to see a pardon for the domestic doyenne who was convicted in 2004 of lying to investigators about a stock sale and who served five months in a women's correctional facility. Thousands of people have even signed a petition seeking a pardon for Martha. It's hard to see what would be in it for Bush. But Martha's spectacular book sales and daytime-TV ratings are testament to millions of other Americans' ability to forgive. Why not the president, too? (The question, of course, that all pardon applicants ask.)

Correction, Nov. 20, 2008: The original sentence mistakenly stated that Ted Stevens has served in the Senate for 50 years. In fact, he has served for 40 years. (Return to the corrected sentence.)