Federal judge apologizes for ‘partisan’ comments on Trump’s pardons

Ryan J. Foley

A federal judge in Iowa admitted wrongdoing and publicly apologized for comments ridiculing former President Donald Trump for issuing a series of pardons to well-connected Republican officials.

Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt made the remarks during a phone interview with The Associated Press in December, saying: “It's not surprising a criminal like Trump pardons other criminals.” In a bit of humor, he added, “But apparently to get a pardon, one has to be either a Republican, a convicted child murderer or a turkey.”

Pratt's remarks set off a firestorm of criticism among lawyers, who said that they were inappropriate from a federal judge. They also triggered a judicial misconduct complaint against Pratt by Lavenski Smith, chief judge of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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