President Trump grants 2 full pardons

President Trump grants 2 full pardons

President Trump on Tuesday granted pardons to father-and-son cattle ranchers in southeastern OR who were sentenced to serve prison time on two separate occasions for the same charges of arson on public lands.

Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son Steven, 49, were convicted in 2012 and sent to prison on arson charges. "As ranchers across eastern OR frequently tell me, the Hammonds didn't deserve a five year sentence for using fire as a management tool, something the federal government does all the time".

Led by Ammon Bundy, protesters occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge from January 2 to February 11, 2016.

At the time, Bundy told CNN that he wanted the federal government to relinquish control of the wildlife refuge so "people can reclaim their resources". Most notably, members of another anti-government family, the Bundys, cited the Hammonds as their inspiration for facing down what they called an oppressive government when they occupied a national wildlife refuge in OR, setting up a weeks-long standoff that became front-page news in 2016.

"The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds' responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges", the statement said.

The occupation resulted in the death of one man, LaVoy Fincicum, who was shot and killed by Oregon State Police troopers when he drove his truck at a roadblock while trying to escape the refuge.

The move came years after the convictions of Dwight and Steven Hammond, part of a family in the high desert of eastern OR known for its generosity and community contributions.

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Trump has also said on Twitter he could pardon himself in case he would be convicted as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential elections.

The relatively short sentences came despite mandatory minimum sentences of five years.

Dwight and Steven Hammond were both ultimately convicted of setting a fire in 2001 that consumed 139 acres of federal property, while the younger rancher was also found guilty of lighting a "back burn" that spread onto an acre of public land in 2006. The Hammonds could have faced less than a year in prison under a plea offer they declined, she said.

Aides say that Trump has been especially drawn to cases in which he believes the prosecution may have been politically motivated - a situation that may remind him of his own position at the center of the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling.

In a statement on Tuesday, the White House said the decision sentencing the Hammonds to five years in prison was "unjust" and said that the fire had burned only "a small portion" of public land.

In 2016, as a result of their sentencing, Ammon Bundy gathered supporters and took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon.

They have also paid $400,000 to the settle a related civil suit.

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