A Hall of Famer and the boutique hotel inventor: Meet the people behind Obama's clemency acts

Chelsea Manning wasn't the only high profile name among the 208

A Hall of Famer and the boutique hotel inventor: Meet the people behind Obama's clemency acts

Image: AP/Press Association Images

Outgoing US President Barack Obama exercised his clemency power for the last time, commuting the sentence of former US Army analyst Chelsea Manning.

Manning's commutation was one of 208 commutations made this week by Obama, on top of 64 pardons. The vast majority of offenders had been convicted of drug-related crimes.

As it stands, Obama has issued the most combined commutations and pardons of any president since Harry Truman, and more than Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes combined.

Beyond Manning, there are several other high profile names behind the acts of clemency:

Willie Lee McCovey

Baseball player Willie Lee McCovey fell afoul of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the US for not declaring all of the cash income he made from signing autographs at sports memorabilia shows. McCovey pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years probation and a $5,000 fine.

McCovey pitched for the San Francisco Giants in the 60s and 70s. He boasted a .270 career batting average, as well as 521 homeruns and 1,555 runs batted in. He was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1986 - his first year of eligibility.

File photo:. Image: Jeff Chiu AP/Press Association Images

Ian Schrager 

Co-founder of the famous nightclubs Studio 54 and the Palladium, Schrager spent a year in prison between 1980 and 1981 and paid a $20,000 fine for corporate tax evasion of $366,000, based on almost $800,000 of unreported income in 1977.

His business partner, Steve Rubell, had drawn the attention of federal authorities by bragging that Studio 54 made money "second only to the Mafia". The two are credited with re-creating the hotel business and inventing the boutique hotel following their stint behind bars.

Today, beyond running a string of successful hotels, he is spearheading several condominium projects.

Hotelier Ian Schrager relaxes in the pool with several guests afloat at his new, luxurious Hotel Delano in Miami Beach, Fla., Sept. 14, 1995. Image: Rick Bowman AP/Press Association Images

General James Cartwright

Retired Marine General James Cartwright was pardoned by Obama after he leaked information to New York Times reporters about the classified Stuxnet computer worm

The worm was used to hamper Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and admitted to lying about the leaks to FBI investigators.

In 2016, Politico reported his conviction as being "the most serious conviction of a high-ranking government official". His pardon was expected, having previously been described as "Obama's favourite general" because of their close relationship.

However, national security lawyers were stunned, noting that it came barely a week after Justice Department prosecutors asked a federal judge to sentence him to two years in prison for lying to the FBI.

Image: Charles Dharapak AP/Press Association Images

Dwight J Loving

Dwight J Loving was one of nine military personnel on death row. 

On the night of December 11th 1988, Loving robbed two taxi drivers, shot them each in the back of the head and made off with less than $100 in total. After meeting up with a girlfriend, Loving tried to rob a third driver, who got away.

He was a private at Fort Hood, Texas at the time of the murders.

Attorneys from Cornell University Law School's Death Penalty Project previously petitioned the Supreme Court to review Loving's conviction.

The executions of Loving would be the first by the U.S. military since 1961. His sentence was commuted to life in prison. Obama also specified that Loving will be unable to appeal his conviction or be eligible in any way for release in the future.

File photo. Image: US Army

Oscar López Rivera 

The leader of the Puerto Rican independence group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) was sentenced in 1981 for 55 years for sedition.

During the 1970s and 80s, López Rivera's FALN placed more than 130 bombs in American cities. 

In 1988, his original sentence was extended 15 years after authorities disrupted an escape plot that included a plan to murder prison guards.

President Bill Clinton offered to commute the sentences of 16 imprisoned FALN members - including López Rivera's - in 1999. López Rivera refused on the condition that he renounce his terrorist past. In 1998, he'd told a reporter, "The whole thing of contrition, atonement, I have problems with that."

López Rivera has been in jail for 36 years, and is considered one of the longest-serving political prisoners.

He received a full commutation from President Obama.

Jan Susler, López Rivera’s lawyer, said the prisoner’s release is a huge win in the ongoing fight for Puerto Rican independence, adding that she was grateful that Obama understood "there wasn’t any legitimate reason to keep Oscar in prison.

“We have to celebrate every victory,” she said. “We have a lot of work left to do, and now Oscar will be able to join us, and we can work side by side."

Maria Pagan, center, joins a rally calling for the release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera on Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Image: Manuel Balce Ceneta AP/Press Association Images