Friday, June 08, 2018 3:55 p.m. CDT by Jim Monk
FARGO (KFGO) – President Trump has been formally requested to grant a pardon, or sentence commutation for Leonard Peltier. Peltier is serving life in prison for the 1975 murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His trial was held in Fargo.
Sheridan Murphy is with the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. “All that would necessarily be needed is for the president to see that there was misconduct that’s been admitted” Murphy said. “If you look at the case from a presidential viewpoint, we’re hoping that (the president) can see that there’s questions, there’s a lot of questions about this case.”
A letter written to the president by Peltier attorney David Frankel says Peltier “has been subjected to a vicious campaign of fake news by the FBI.” The letter also says Peltier is in “very poor health” and says Peltier’s only desire is to go home to the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation to be with his family.
Murphy says the pardon request is “certainly worth the effort” because he considers Trump a “wild card.” “You have no idea where he’s going to go. I wouldn’t have guessed that a visit from Kim Kardashian would relate to a pardon the next day…so, you never know.”
The White House isn’t commenting.
Clemency petition filed on behalf of Leonard Peltier
The Office of the Pardon Attorney has announced President Obama has denied clemency to imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Peltier is a former member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. He has long maintained his innocence.
Amnesty International condemned the decision.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite serious concerns about the fairness of legal proceedings that led to his trial and conviction, Peltier was imprisoned for more than 40 years. He has always maintained his innocence. The families of the FBI agents who were killed during the 1975 confrontation between the FBI and American Indian Movement (AIM) members have a right to justice, but justice will not be served by Peltier’s continued imprisonment.”
Peltier’s attorney Martin Garbus appeared on Democracy Now! today.
“I think it’s fair to say that if he doesn’t get commuted by President Obama, he’ll die in jail. He’s a very sick man,” Garbus said. “So, Obama’s not granting him clemency is like a sentence of death. Trump ain’t going to do it. And he’s very sick, and he’s not going to live past that time. I don’t want to be negative, but that’s the reality. He’s very sick, and he’s been in prison over 40 years, hard years, six years of solitary.”
Garbus was notified of Obama’s decision earlier today. In an email, the Office of the Pardon Attorney wrote: “The application for commutation of sentence of your client, Mr. Leonard Peltier, was carefully considered in this Department and the White House, and the decision was reached that favorable action is not warranted. Your client’s application was therefore denied by the President on January 18, 2017… Under the Constitution, there is no appeal from this decision.”
See our full coverage on Leonard Peltier