Trump pardons Blackwater contractors guilty of Baghdad massacre
While it is not unusual for presidents to grant clemency on their way out the door, Trump has made clear that he has no qualms about intervening in the cases of friends and allies whom he believes have been treated unfairly.
In the group announced Tuesday night were four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone.
Supporters of Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, the former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide, had lobbied for pardons, arguing that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution they said was tainted by problems and withheld exculpatory evidence.
All four were serving lengthy prison sentences.
The pardons reflected Trump’s apparent willingness to give the benefit of doubt to American service members and contractors when it comes to acts of violence in war zones against civilians.
Last November, for instance, he pardoned a former U.S. Army commando who was set to stand trial next year in the killing of a suspected Afghan bomb-maker and a former Army lieutenant convicted of murder for ordering his men to fire upon three Afghans.
Trump also commuted the sentences of five people, including former Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas.