U.S. President Donald Trump, on Wednesday, granted clemency to 26 more persons, a day after announcing 20 pardons, four, of which were controversial.
The latest batch of beneficiaries includes two long-time associates of the president, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort.
Stone and Manafort, both Trump’s former advisers, were indicted by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and later convicted of multiple crimes.
On Feb. 20, Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison for obstruction of Congress, threatening of witnesses, lying to investigators and four other counts.
But Trump commuted the sentence on July 10, just before he was set to surrender.
Manafort, on the other hand, spent almost two years in prison for tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying among others, before he was released due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was on house arrest before Wednesday’s pardon.
Also, pardoned on Wednesday is Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump and son-in-law and senior advisor to the president.
Charles was convicted of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering in 2005.
Besides the big names, no fewer than 20 other persons, including those who had pleaded guilty to various cyber crimes, also benefited from Wednesday’s action, reports say.
The United Nations is among those criticising the president over Tuesday’s list of pardons.
It includes four U.S. security contractors, Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, convicted in 2007 for killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
The UN, through its Human Rights Office, warned that freeing them would encourage others to commit similar crimes.
The decision reportedly sparked outrage in Iraq with the father of a nine-year boy, who died in the shooting, saying Trump broke his life again.