As Air Force One descended toward Houston, President Donald Trump told reporters gathered in the cabin that he is considering a pardon for Martha Stewart, who was convicted in 2004 of conspiring to lie about an alleged insider trading crime.
The off-hand comment came toward the end of an explanation Trump offered for why he that day had pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, who had pled guilty to violations of campaign finance laws. In Trump’s opinion, D’Souza was a victim of selective prosecution. Sitting behind a desk with a glass of Diet Coke in front of him, Trump offered that he was also thinking of commuting the bribery conviction of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojich, saying the 18-year sentence was unfair for “being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know, that many other politicians say.”
Then came Stewart — who became a national celebrity through her television show filmed at Turkey Hill Farm, then her home in Westport. She sold the property in 2007 for $6.7 million, and has since resided in New York.
“I think to a certain extent Martha Stewart was harshly and unfairly treated. And, she used to be my biggest fan in the world … before I became a politician. But that’s ok I don’t view it that way,” he said.
Stewart was convicted in 2004 of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to investigators. She spent five-months in prison and was under house arrest for two years after that. She was never charged with insider trading over the 2001 sale of ImClone stock.
Pardoning Stewart isn’t necessarily something Trump dreamed up himself. Mary Katharine Ham, a senior writer at The Federalist, a conservative internet publication, wrote a column in April listing “seven reasons” why Trump should pardon her.
Among the reasons she offered was that it would serve as a way for Trump to tweak former FBI Director James Comey, who was Stewart’s prosecutor.
“A pardon to Stewart would be a blow to Comey that is perfectly within Trump’s power and a much less controversial move than firing him was,” she wrote.
Ham also said that it could also serve to undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has “slapped former Trump aides Gen. Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos and lawyer Alex van der Zwaan on counts of making false statements” as he continues his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“Consider Scooter Libby, or Martha Stewart, or Dennis Hastert, or James Cartwright, all taken down by the feds not for their alleged original misconduct but for lying about it,” she wrote.
As to D’Souza, Trump said he “always felt he was very unfairly treated.”
D’Souza, a conservative commentator, author, and filmmaker, was indicted on charges that he illegally used straw donors to contribute to a Republican Senate candidate in New York in 2012. He was sentenced to five years of probation.
“What should have been a quick minor fine, like everybody else with the election stuff,” Trump said. “What they did to him was horrible.”