WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he is considering pardoning some 3,000 people “who may have been treated unfairly,” including late heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
“We have 3,000 names. We’re looking at them. Of the 3,000 names, many of those names have been treated unfairly,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn before he departed for a Group of Seven summit in Canada. In some cases, their sentences are “far too long,” he said.
Trump said he was considering a pardon for Ali, who died in 2016. The boxer refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army in 1967, claiming conscientious objector status, and was sentenced to five years in prison. He never went to prison while his case was under appeal and in 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
“I’m thinking about somebody that you all know very well, and he went through a lot and he wasn’t very popular then,” Trump said. “His memory is very popular now. I’m thinking about Muhammad Ali. I’m thinking about that very seriously.”
It was unclear why Trump would be considering a pardon, given that Ali’s conviction was overturned.
Trump also said he will reach out to National Football League players who have been urging criminal justice reforms for their recommendations of people who have been treated unfairly.
Reporting by Jim Oliphant; Writing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe