Passover Appeal by Republican Congressman for Pollard's Release
Justice4JPnews - April 17, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Troodler
IN PASSOVER LETTER TO PRESIDENT, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN CALLS FOR POLLARD'S RELEASE
Republican Congressman Michael Grimm of New York, who last month became the first Republican Member of the House of Representatives to call for Jonathan Pollard's release, recently sent an official letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard's sentence to time served (the full text of the letter appears below and a copy is attached).
Pollard has spent more than 25 years languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States.
While referring to Pollard's sentence, Grimm wrote to the President that, "it is patently clear that the sentence was, and remains, terribly disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) constitutes a gross miscarriage of justice."
Congressman Grimm, who last month visited Pollard at his North Carolina prison, noted in his letter to President Obama that Pollard's "health is declining," "[h]e has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions," and he "by all accounts has served as a model inmate."
"Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency, as well as a matter of basic fairness and American justice," wrote Congressman Grimm in his letter to the President. "It would also represent a clear act of compassion and reconciliation - a sign of hope much needed in today's world of tension and turmoil."
Congressman Grimm, who represents New York's 13th Congressional District, which is comprised of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, previously served as an agent for the FBI for nine years. In addition, Grimm is a former U.S. Marine who served in the Gulf War and was awarded a Combat Meritorious Promotion. Congressman Grimm currently serves on the House Committee on Financial Services, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, and the Subcommittee on Capital Markets.
While discussing Jonathan Pollard at an event in Brooklyn several weeks ago, Congressman Grimm referred to his own background as an FBI agent and a long-time advocate for justice as he noted that there is a consensus that Pollard's sentence is excessive.
Grimm also noted that he is working with many other individuals in Washington to secure Pollard's release. "We are doing what we can to have justice prevail, and justice in the case is to have Jonathan Pollard released from prison," Grimm said at the time.
Over the past several months, numerous prominent government officials, high-ranking individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in the legal world, and renowned religious and communal leaders have issued public calls for clemency for Pollard.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, each of whom had the opportunity to thoroughly review Pollard's classified file and is fully familiar with the circumstances of his case, have called for Pollard's release.
Henry Kissinger, who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and who was a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the time of Pollard's sentencing, sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard's sentence to time served.
Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Jonathan Pollard's sentencing, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is currently member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, also called on President Obama to free Pollard.
In addition, a wide array of American leaders have called for a commutation of Pollard's sentence, including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Arkansas governor and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Arlen Specter, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former New York City Mayor and former Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, well-known conservative leader Gary Bauer, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, well-known Christian leader Pat Robertson, Pastor John Hagee, and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama's law professor at Harvard and remains friends with them today.
Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his two-and-a-half decades in prison.
Pollard's life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations. Despite the fact that Pollard entered into a plea agreement and fully cooperated with the prosecution in his case, he nonetheless received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled, which was in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.
The following is the text of Congressman Grimm's letter to President Obama:
April 15, 2011
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I write to you as a newly elected member of the House of Representatives and I wish to add my voice in support of clemency for Jonathan Pollard. As Americans we are united in the fundamental belief that "Justice, only justice, shall you pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20), which rests at the core of our moral principles and system of justice.
Mr. Pollard is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage - passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States. I certainly do not condone his crime, nor do I underestimate the gravity of the offense. But it is patently clear that the sentence was, and remains, terribly disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) constitutes a gross miscarriage of justice.
I recently returned from visiting Mr. Pollard in prison and after more than two and a half decades in prison, his health is declining. He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has served as a model inmate. If Mr. Pollard were to be granted clemency he would be united with his wife, Esther, in Israel where he has vowed to live the remainder of his life in peace.
Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency, as well as a matter of basic fairness and American justice. It would also represent a clear act of compassion and reconciliation - a sign of hope much needed in today's world of tension and turmoil.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Member of Congress
13th District of New York