A former lawyer for Bill Clinton has sent President Barack Obama a pardon request for convicted ex-congressman Chaka Fattah.
Fattah was sentenced to 10 years in prison last month after he was convicted on charges including participating in a racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bribery, and falsification of records, among other counts. He was found guilty of stealing charitable donations to refund an illegal $1 million loan he used during his 2007 mayoral campaign, using campaign funds to pay off his son’s college tuition debt, and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds to pay a political strategist.
Lanny Davis, who served as Clinton’s lawyer and spokesman during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, co-wrote the letter of request with New Jersey pastor Rev. Dr. Therman Evans, citing Fattah’s “unmatched contributions to improving the life chances of tens of millions of Americans” and “recognized irregularities in the process for this case.”
The letter was posted on FattahCase.com, a website “created by a group of former staffer’s [sic] of Congressman Chaka Fattah.” The request comes directly after a federal appellate court denied Fattah’s bid to delay his sentence while he appeals his conviction on corruption-related grounds. He must surrender by January 25th.
The decade-long prison sentence, which is within the guideline range, is the second-longest prison term ever given to a member of Congress, according to the Inquirer. Fattah was also ordered to pay $614,500 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release.
In the letter, Davis and Evans cite three supposed issues for the case: “that the presiding judge exhibited a clear prejudice, there was a documented misconduct by the prosecutors, and there are major evidence gaps in the case.”
The request references Judge Harvey Bartle III, who Davis and Evans claim “inappropriately dismissed a juror” while “in the midst of the jury’s deliberating,” among other alleged actions they deem compromising.
According to the Inquirer, the majority of the concerns addressed in the letter have been disputed by prosecutors and previously rejected by Bartle.
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