President Joe Biden plans to issue his first batch of presidential pardons Tuesday while commuting the prison sentences of 75 nonviolent drug offenders.
The pardon recipients are “three people who have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation and are striving every day to give back and contribute to their communities,” Biden said in a statement.
Among them is Abraham Bolden, 86, a Chicago man who became the first African American Secret Service agent to serve on a presidential detail during the Kennedy administration.
In 1964, Bolden was arrested on charges related to attempting to sell a copy of a Secret Service file, an allegation he has consistently denied. He was convicted after two trials, even though key witnesses later admitted lying at the request of prosecutors, the White House said in a fact sheet.
Bolden was sentenced to six years in federal prison and has “been recognized for his many contributions to his community following his release,” the White House said. He has also “received numerous honors and awards for his ongoing work to speak out against the racism he faced in the Secret Service in the 1960s, and his courage in challenging injustice.”
A senior administration official said Tuesday’s action means Biden will have granted more people clemency at this point in his presidency than the last five presidents. Former President Donald Trump issued 143 pardons in his four years in office — 116 of them in January 2021 — and 94 commutations. Former President Barack Obama issued 212 pardons and commuted 1,715 sentences over two terms.
Another pardon recipient is Betty Jo Bogans, 51, a single mom from Houston. She was convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine after she attempted to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice, neither of whom were detained or arrested, the White House said.