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SMU Law Professor Says President Trump Can Issue 'Blanket Pardon' For Capitol Rioters

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As President Donald Trump prepares to leave office, sources close to the president tell CBS News, he's going to be making a final round of pardons.

Several people arrested for storming the Capitol say they would welcome a pardon, including Jenna Ryan, a radio talk show host and a realtor from North Texas who faces charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct.

"I would like a pardon from the President of the United States, I think that we all deserve a pardon," she told CBS 11 news on Friday, Jan. 15 hours after turning herself in to the FBI and being released from custody.

SMU law professor Eric Cedillo says President Trump can pardon anyone, even if they are not charged with a crime.

"Theoretically the president could do that," he says. "He could provide a blanket pardon, encompassing all acts that were committed at the Capitol on January 6."

There are precedents in history for a preemptive pardon.

President Richard Nixon received a preemptive pardon from President Gerald Ford.

"He had never been charged with a crime," Professor Cedillo says. "Once he resigned and was pardoned, he was given the opportunity to everything pretty much stopped."

President Jimmy Carter issued a blanket pardon for all those who evaded the military draft.

But Cedillo says, if new evidence finds crimes that are not included in the language of the pardon, then prosecutors can file new charges.

"If there was actually some sort of information, or perhaps the individual actually helped in an assault that created incredible bodily injury. It's a very real possibility they could still be charged and convicted of that crime, because it fell outside the pardon, that the president had given," he said.

But Cedillo says President Trump and his lawyers will take into consideration the impending Senate impeachment trial.

A pardon, he says, could sway some senators to vote for impeachment. It could also impact future legal cases against the President in the future.

"I think it can be problematic for him in the long run." he said.


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