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Trump Floats Pardon for Muhammad Ali—Who Doesn’t Need It

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he was considering a pardon for Muhammad Ali, the late boxer who was convicted in 1967 of evading the draft. The announcement came in response to a question about pardoning O.J. Simpson, to which Trump replied that he was “not thinking about O.J.” but he was thinking of a man who was “not very popular... I’m thinking about Muhammad Ali,” according to a White House pool report. Ali refused to enter military service during the height of the Vietnam War, citing his religious objections, and was banned from boxing for three years. Posthumous pardons are rare, USA Today notes—this would only be the fourth in history—but this would be even more odd, considering that Ali’s conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1971. He also would have been exonerated by then-President Carter’s 1977 blanket amnesty policy. In response to Trump’s announcement, Ali’s lawyer released a statement saying that “we appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary. The Supreme Court overturned the Ali’s conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971. There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed.”