Are other ‘Apprentice’ candidates in line for pardons?
President Donald Trump’s suggestion Thursday that he may pardon or commute the sentences of Martha Stewart and former Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for federal crimes covers two of the most infamous celebrities connected to Trump’s former reality show “The Apprentice.”
But, if Trump is considering pardons for all well-known “Apprentice” alumni caught in the federal system, he missed at least one.
Darryl Strawberry, the former professional baseball player, pleaded guilty to federal income tax evasion in 1995. Strawberry’s probation was for three years.
Strawberry — who played for both the New York Mets and New York Yankees, Trump’s hometown baseball teams — pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. By pleading guilty, Strawberry avoided a trial on three tax-related counts that could have landed him in prison for five years, according to The New York Times.
In 2010, he appeared on “The Celebrity Apprentice” but was fired on the third episode of the season. Strawberry recently praised Trump, saying in an October interview on Fox News that Trump is a “great man” who has “always been kind to me.”
On Thursday, Trump floated the idea of pardoning past “Apprentice” contestants Stewart and Blagojevich.
Stewart was convicted in 2004 of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements relating to an insider trading investigation. Then-US Attorney James Comey gave prosecutors the green light to pursue her case.
Comey wrote in his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” that Stewart “didn’t commit the crime of the century” and that he initially viewed her criminal prosecution as an “annoyance,” but he needed to bring charges against her because she had lied to investigators.
Blagojevich was convicted of 17 crimes related to his time as Illinois governor. The most infamous was his attempt to sell off former President Barack Obama’s Senate seat after Obama was elected to the White House in 2008.
There are plenty of other “Apprentice” contestants with serious legal problems, including drunk driving and domestic violence convictions. But these are mostly local and state crimes, and Trump’s powers to grant pardons and commutations applies only to federal laws.
Though not connected to Trump by a pardon tease, several former “Apprentice” contestants still intersect with the goings-on of the Trump White House.
Just this week, the sister of season eight contestant Khloe Kardashian — that would be Kim — met with the President to discuss criminal justice legislation.
The State Department and Trump are also preparing for a possible meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “Apprentice” season eight and season 13 contestant Dennis Rodman already built a rapport over several visits to North Korea.
And while Stewart never “fired” Trump from her spinoff version of “The Apprentice,” she did host Trump and his wife, Melania, on her show in 2005. They made meatloaf — a delicacy that happens to have the same name as the famous season 11 contestant.