President Trump posthumously pardons boxer Jack Johnson
Bettmann / Contributor(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump signed a full posthumous pardon for former heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson in a surprise Oval Office ceremony alongside actor Sylvester Stallone, former heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis, and others.
“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during the ceremony in the Oval Office.
Just 30 minutes before reporters were called to the event, Stallone posted a picture of himself on Instagram.
“He was treated very rough, very tough,” Trump said of Johnson on Thursday as he signed the pardon.
In 1913, Johnson, a noted boxing legend, was convicted by an all-white jury with violating the Mann Act after transporting a white woman he was dating across state lines for “immoral purposes.”
He served one year in prison.
Others have taken up the cause for Johnson to receive a rare posthumous pardon including Senators John McCain, R-Arizona, Harry Reid, R-Nevada, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Earlier this year, McCain, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., reintroduced legislation urging a posthumous pardon.
Last month, Trump tweeted that “Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson,” the president tweeted Saturday. “His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”
Trump’s other recent pardons include Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby.
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