Ali was convicted in 1967 for refusing to serve in the military during the Vietnam war. Back then, he was convicted in federal court for violating the service laws. He was stripped of his World Boxing Association heavyweight title, his passport, all boxing licenses, was fined $10,000 and faced five years in prison.
“I’m thinking about Muhammad Ali. I’m thinking about that very seriously and some others,” Trump said while speaking to reporters at the White House before departing for the Group of Seven summit. “And some folks that have sentences that aren’t fair.”
Ali’s attorney Ron Tweel released a statement saying that he appreciated Trump’s consideration but that “a pardon is unnecessary.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971. There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed,” he said.
While in office, Trump has pardoned five individuals and commuted one sentence. Last month, he posthumously granted clemency to another boxer named Jack Johnson. He was the first African-American world heavyweight champion and was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act for a racially charged prosecution.
I’m sure many of us would like to see more pardons for non-celebrities and people like Alice Johnson.