He continued, “I’m thinking about Muhammad Ali. I’m thinking about that seriously. And some others and some folks whose have sentences that aren’t fair. I am thinking about Muhammad Ali.”
Ali’s attorney, Ron Tweel, responded to the president’s gesture in a statement Friday.
“We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but 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.
Trump said he was not considering pardoning O.J. Simpson.
(MORE: O.J. Simpson: ‘I have days I can’t find words’)
The president also called on the NFL and its players to give him recommendations for pardons.
“I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s what their protesting,” Trump said. “People that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. I understand that. I’m going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated. Friends of theirs, or people they know about and I’m going to take a look at those applications. If I find — if my committee finds they’re unfairly treated, we will pardon them or at least let them out.”
(MORE: Trump’s ‘solo act’ push for presidential pardons likely to grow, WH officials say)
Johnson, who served almost 22 years in federal prison for a first-time criminal offense, was pardoned this week. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West personally appealed to Trump to pardon the 63-year-old grandmother.
White House aides believe Trump may look to pardon Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, sources told ABC News, while lobbying the president to consider other Americans who have been behind bars for nonviolent crimes.
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