WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has issued his first pardons since taking office last year.
“Today, I am pardoning three people who have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation and are striving every day to give back and contribute to their communities,” Biden said in a statement. “I am also commuting the sentences of 75 people who are serving long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, many of whom have been serving on home confinement during the COVID-pandemic — and many of whom would have received a lower sentence if they were charged with the same offense today, thanks to the bipartisan First Step Act.”
Those who received pardons include Abraham W. Bolden Sr., 86, of Chicago; Betty Jo Bogans, 51, of Houston; and Dexter Eugene Jackson, 52, of Athens, Georgia, according to the statement.
As of 7 a.m. EDT Tuesday, the Republican Party had not publicly commented on the announcement.
Bolden, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, “was the first African American to serve on a presidential detail,” the White House said.
“In 1964, Mr. Bolden was charged with offenses related to attempting to sell a copy of a Secret Service file,” the statement read. “His first trial resulted in a hung jury, and following his conviction at a second trial, even though key witnesses against him admitted to lying at the prosecutor’s request, Mr. Bolden was denied a new trial and ultimately served several years in federal custody. He has steadfastly maintained his innocence, arguing that he was targeted for prosecution in retaliation for exposing unprofessional and racist behavior within the U.S. Secret Service.”
Bogans received a seven-year sentence after she “was convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine ... after attempting to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice, neither of whom were detained or arrested,” according to the statement.
“At the time of her conviction, Ms. Bogans was a single mother with no prior record, who accepted responsibility for her limited role in the offense,” the White House said, adding that she has “held consistent employment, even while undergoing treatment for cancer” following her release.
Jackson “was convicted in 2002 for using his business to facilitate the distribution of marijuana,” according to the statement.
“Mr. Jackson was not personally involved in trafficking marijuana, but allowed marijuana distributors to use his pool hall to facilitate drug transactions,” the White House said. “He accepted full responsibility for his actions at the time he was charged and pled guilty.”
A full list of people who were granted clemency is available on the White House website.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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