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The ex-offenders who received pardons or sentence commutations from President Donald Trump on Tuesday aren’t all household names. But of the 11 individuals, many are notable figures, and some have ties to the president or his associates, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and former financier Michael Milken.
Speaking to reporters about his decision, Trump said that he had watched Blagojevich’s wife Patti on television. She has appeared multiple times on Fox News, a channel that the president is known to watch, to push for a sentence reduction for her husband. Trump also said that he doesn’t know Rod Blagojevich “very well, I met him a couple of times.” But the former governor was a contestant on season nine of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” the reality television show that Trump hosted before running for president.
WATCH: Trump commutes former Gov. Blagojevich sentence, pardons others
Two individuals granted pardons — Milken and Bernard Kerik, the former commissioner of the New York Police Department — have close ties to the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
In addition to Blagojevich, others who were granted commutations include Tynice Nichole Hall, a 36-year-old mother who was sentenced to prison in 2006 for a number of drug charges, as well as Judith Negron, who was convicted in 2011 of orchestrating a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme.
The White House statement said that the individuals receiving commutations “have paid their debts to society and have worked to improve their lives and the lives of others while incarcerated.”
Since taking office, Trump has granted pardons to former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who repeatedly violated a judge’s order to cease racial profiling as part of immigration enforcement, and Scooter Libby, a former George W. Bush administration official who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to reporters.
Who else received clemency? Below, learn more about some of the president’s latest pardons.
Courtney Vinopal is a general assignment reporter at the PBS NewsHour.
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