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Tony Rodham says he talked to Clinton about pardon

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton's brother, said Friday he talked to former President Clinton about a pardon for a Tennessee couple convicted of bank fraud. The pardon was granted last year.

"I mentioned it to the president, yes I did, and I have no problem in saying that I mentioned it to the president," Rodham said in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live." "I worked for the Gregorys, I'd been in their employ."

Rodham has been embroiled in the controversy surrounding pardons Clinton granted during his presidency, some of which were the subject of a House committee hearing earlier this week.

Rodham worked as a consultant for E.A. and Jo Gregory, who run a carnival business. They were convicted of various bank fraud charges in 1982, but Glenn Lewis, an attorney for Rodham, said the couple agreed to a plea in which they got no sentence, served no jail time and paid no fine.

"The Gregorys are the kind of people that pardons were made for," Rodham said. "They are what the pardon system is designed for."

He said he spoke to the president about the pardon as a friend of the Gregorys, and "never received a dime for it."

Rodham also disputed charges that the pardon, which was granted in March 2000, was opposed by the Justice Department.

"They (the Gregorys) had gone through the process, they filed their application with the Justice Department about 18 months or 16 months... before the pardon was granted, the pardon was looked at, vetted, taken care of by the Justice Department... It was submitted to the president, the president looked at the pardon, saw the merits of the pardon, and figured they deserved it," he said.

Rodham said the Gregorys sought the pardon because their status as convicted felons was beginning to affect their business, since many state contracts have clauses that forbid doing business with people convicted of felonies.

He said he was unhappy with the media attention focused on him because of his involvement in the pardon, and blasted journalists for their treatment of his brother, Hugh Rodham, who recently returned some $400,000 he was paid to help two men who won presidential clemency.

"I think it's a disgrace," he said of reporters camped out in front of his brother's Florida home. "They've tried to show him in a light that's unfavorable."

The House Government Operations and Reform Committee held hearings this week on Clinton's pardon of financier Marc Rich, one of the 140 pardons and commutations he granted on his final day in office.

The committee is looking into whether contributions from Rich's ex-wife, Denise, to the Clinton library fund and Democratic campaigns had anything to do with the pardon. Rich was indicted in 1983 on a host of federal tax and fraud charges, but left the country before he could stand trial.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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