Program Note: See CNN Senior Analyst Jeffrey Toobin's analysis of President Bush's pardon today of more than a dozen convicts on AC360 tonight at 10pm.
Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
The Justice department is getting flooded with a new wave of requests for pardons and commutations from convicted felons hoping for clemency from President Bush before he leaves office. A number of politically connected Washington lawyers have been retained to push the cases, but there are few signs that Bush will be open to anything resembling the last minute "pardon party" that marked President Clinton's final days in office.
Bush has taken a stingy stand on pardons, granting fewer of them—just 157, and none of them high profile—than any president in modern history. He has directed all hopefuls to submit applications to the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney, which evaluates all requests using strict, longstanding guidelines, including a requirement that applicants have finished serving their sentences and expressed remorse. The office received a record 555 pardon requests during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 and an additional 103 in the past month.
Washington superlawyer Ted Olson, who served as solicitor general during Bush's first term, has submitted a pardon request on behalf of former junk-bond king Michael Milken, who is seeking a pardon for his 1990 securities-fraud conviction. Other commutation applicants include Marion Jones, the Olympic sprinter who was convicted of lying about steroid use, and John Walker Lindh, the so-called "American Taliban," now serving 20 years for providing material support to a terrorist organization.
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