- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

President Trump pardoned convicted financier Michael Milken on Tuesday during a flurry of high-profile clemency grants.

Milken had pleaded guilty in 1990 to six counts of securities and tax violations.

The president said Milken, who has become known for his philanthropy, has “done an incredible job for the world with all of his research on cancer.”

“He suffered greatly,” the president said. “He paid a big price, paid a very tough price. He’s done an incredible job.”

The White House suggested Milken was the target of an overzealous prosecution. In its statement on the pardon, the White House said Milken in 1989 “was charged in an indictment alleging that some of his innovative financing mechanisms were in fact criminal schemes.”

“The charges filed against Mr. Milken were truly novel,” the White House said. “In fact, one of the lead prosecutors later admitted that Mr. Milken had been charged with numerous technical offenses and regulatory violations that had never before been charged as crimes.”

The statement emphasized that Milken “pioneered the use of high-yield bonds in corporate finance.”

“His innovative work greatly expanded access to capital for emerging companies,” it said. “By enabling smaller players to access the financing they needed to compete, Mr. Milken’s efforts helped create entire industries, such as wireless communications and cable television, and transformed others, like home building. Mr. Milken’s work also democratized corporate finance by providing women and minorities access to capital that would have been unavailable to them otherwise.”

He served two years in prison and was fined $600 million.

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