President Donald Trump granted clemency to eleven people Tuesday in what mainstream media outlets are calling a “clemency spree,” but many are ignoring the several women — including women of color — who were granted relief from long prison sentences, in pursuit of headlines tying Trump to “corruption” and “white collar crime.”
Trump did, of course, grant commutations and pardons to several high-profile individuals, including former governor Rob Blagojevich, former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerick, financier Mike Milken, and pro-football Hall of Famer Edward DeBartolo, Jr.
But while media focused on creating a common thread tying these commutations and pardons together in an effort to, it seems, connect them back to Trump campaign operative Roger Stone’s ongoing trial, the media missed several other pardons and commutations granted to women who took minor roles in criminal enterprises yet received major Federal prison sentences.
Angela Stanton received a pardon, at the behest of Alaveda King (neice of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.), after serving “a 6-month home confinement sentence for her role in a stolen vehicle ring.” After doing her time, Stanton went on to become an advocate for former inmates, pioneering “re-entry” programs for those returning to the workforce from a stint in prison,” focusing on the critical role of families in the process,” according to the White House’s official statement on the matter.
Trump, it seems, built on his earlier criminal justice reform initiatives in deciding to commute the sentences of several other women, including Crystal Munoz, who served her time with Alice Marie Johnson — the woman found herself free after forging a friendship with Kim Kardashian West who, subsequently, took her case to the White House. Johnson came to consider Munoz “one of her prison daughters,” she told The Associated Press, and urged the President to grant her the same mercy he’d granted Johnson.
“We did a lot of crying and a lot of praying together for things to change for us,” Johnson said.
Munoz gave birth in Federal custody, while awaiting trial on charges of “conspiring to distribute [marijuana].” She was sentenced to 20 years in prison despite contending that “her only role was drawing a map others allegedly used in moving the drugs from Mexico to Texas.” The AP reports that Munoz received ineffective counsel at her trial and suffered dire consequences.
Tynice Nichole Hall also received a commutation Tuesday, releasing her from an “18-year sentence for allowing her apartment to be used to distribute drugs,” after serving more than 14 years, according to the White House. “While in prison, Ms. Hall has completed a number of job-training programs and apprenticeships, as well as coursework towards a college degree. In addition, Ms. Hall has taught prison educational programs to other inmates.”
And then there’s Judith Negron who, the AP reports, “had been serving 35 years at a Florida prison for health care fraud, conspiracy and money laundering when she was released Tuesday.” Negron’s own prison warden wrote a letter to the president in support of granting Negron clemency.
The White House pushed these names into the spotlight Tuesday night, but few media outlets seemed to pick up on them, and when they did, they scoffed at their inclusion. The Associated Press, who did report on Munoz and Negron, even accused the Trump White House of trying to distract from more high-profile pardons and clemencies.
“But Trump also commuted the sentences of several women with more sympathetic cases to balance out the men convicted of corruption,” they said.