Famous pardons

Updated 9:48 PM ET, Fri August 25, 2017
Joe Arpaio FILE 2013Joe Arpaio FILE 2013
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President Donald Trump pardoned controversial former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday, August 25. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in July for disregarding a court order in a racial profiling case. Ross D. Franklin/AP
In his final days in office, President Barack Obama pardoned retired Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cartwright pleaded guilty in federal court in October 2016, admitting he lied to investigators in 2012 when questioned about whether he leaked top secret information to journalists about US efforts to sabotage Iran's nuclear program. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File
Willie "Big Mac" McCovey, a baseball Hall of Famer and former San Francisco Giants player, also received a pardon from Obama in January 2017. McCovey, now 79, was sentenced in 1996 to two years' probation and a $5,000 fine for tax evasion. David Durochik via AP
Obama pardoned Ian Schrager, a New York hotelier and club owner famous for the parties at his clubs Studio 54 and Palladium. Schrager was convicted of filing fake tax returns between 1977 and 1978, and was sentenced to 20 months in prison and a $20,000 fine. The 71-year-old thanked Obama, saying he had tried "to lead a good and productive life" since his conviction. Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Before he was "Iron Man," actor Robert Downey Jr. had multiple run-ins with the law. He served one year and three months in prison for a 1996 conviction on drug and weapons charges. California Gov. Jerry Brown granted Downey a full and unconditional pardon on Christmas Eve 2015. He said Downey had "lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character and conducted himself as a law-abiding citizen." Culver City Police Department/Newsmakers/getty images
In late 2014, outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe formally announced his intention to pardon his son, Kyle, who served three years of supervised probation after being convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Danny Johnston/AP
Anthony McCray is one of eight men convicted of killing their wives or girlfriends who were pardoned by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. They had served in the governor's mansion, where the most well-behaved of convicts in Mississippi get to work and are commonly pardoned by the governor. Rogelio V. Solis/AP
For Ricky Walters, aka Slick Rick, a pardon from New York Gov. David Paterson in 2008 ended his fear of being deported back to his native Britain. The hip-hop star had served six years in prison on an attempted murder and weapons charge, but faced deportation because of a federal statute to deport resident aliens convicted of violent felonies or weapons charges. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Billionaire investor and commodities trader Marc Rich, who violated the embargo on Iran, was pardoned by President Bill Clinton. The controversial pardon even came despite the fact that Rich fled to Switzerland and was on the FBI's most wanted list. Clinton issued about 450 pardons and commutations during his presidency. GUIDO ROEOESLI/AFP/Getty Images
Rich's wasn't the only controversial pardon issued by Clinton. Clinton also pardoned a dozen members of the nationalist terrorist group FALN, several of whom were expected to serve out their terms until their death. ap
Clinton's controversial pardon streak continued with former Rep. Mel Reynolds of Illinois, who was convicted of corruption and statutory rape of a 16-year-old campaign volunteer. JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images
On his last day in office, Clinton pardoned his half-brother Roger Clinton, who was convicted of dealing cocaine. David Klein/Getty Images
President Ronald Reagan's secretary of defense secured a presidential pardon from President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Caspar Weinberger had been indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges related to the Iran-Contra scandal. He was one of several officials involved in the affair whom Bush pardoned. Keystone/Getty Images
All Vietnam-era draft dodgers were unconditionally pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, indemnifying hundreds of thousands who evaded or attempted to evade the draft. The blanket pardon was one of Carter's top campaign promises. Peter Keegan/Getty Images
Carter also used his presidential power to pardon famed musician and activist Peter Yarrow, who had been convicted of taking "indecent liberties" with a 14-year-old fan. Jason Kempin/Getty Images
President Richard Nixon avoided being indicted in the Watergate scandal after his former vice president and successor, President Gerald Ford, pardoned him for crimes he "committed or may have committed." His pardon came about a month after he resigned from office in wake of the scandal. Bettmann Archive/getty images
Call it good karma. Before Nixon got his own pardon, he pardoned several others, including infamous union leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1971. Hoffa had been convicted of jury tampering and fraud. But the pardon didn't keep him out of trouble, as Hoffa vanished in 1974. His body was never found. MPI/Getty Images