Jonathan Pollard's Statement of Remorse and Appeal for Clemency

Justice4JP Release- December 15, 2000

Jonathan Pollard's attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, recently conveyed the following letter from Jonathan Pollard to President Clinton as part of a package of documents submitted to the White House in a renewed appeal for executive clemency. The attorneys' letter, renewing Pollard's appeal for executive clemency, references the many statements of remorse that Jonathan Pollard has made over the 15 years that he has served in prison.

December 3, 2000

Dear Mr. President:

My attorneys Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman have presented you with a request for clemency and commutation of my sentence of life in prison. I most respectfully hope that you will grant that request.

I am writing to you personally, Mr. President, to express my deep regret for what I did.

I was arrested in November 1985 and I have been incarcerated continuously since then. In 1986 I pled guilty, as part of a plea agreement, to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage. I cooperated extensively with the government for over a year in fulfillment of my part of the plea agreement, and yet on March 4, 1987, United States District Judge Aubrey Robinson sentenced me to the maximum sentence of life in prison.

My fifteen years in prison began in the Federal Medical Center (Prison) in Springfield, MO, where I spent over a year in solitary confinement, incommunicado, in a ward reserved for the criminally insane. This was followed by another five years in solitary confinement at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, IL, undoubtedly the toughest prison in the federal system. I have had a good deal of time to reflect on what I did, and what I should have done.

I fully appreciate that what I did was wrong. Grievously wrong. My intent was to help Israel, but I had no right to violate the laws of this country or the trust it had placed in me. I had no right to place myself above the law.

Over the years, I have expressed publicly and privately how deeply sorry I am for what I did. I have acknowledged without equivocation how wrong my conduct was. I have expressed this to members of Congress, local elected officials from throughout the United States, officials of foreign governments, members of the clergy of all faiths, and other prominent citizens.

I have also written letters expressing my unmitigated remorse. These letters, some of which go back many years, have been publicly disseminated. I will ask my lawyers to deliver copies to you.

I have always had, and continue to have, great love for this country. For the rest of my life, I will have to live with what I did, as well as with the pain I caused my family, the American Jewish community, and this great nation.

I know you are a man of great humanity and compassion. I ask, most respectfully Mr. President, that you accept this personal expression of profound remorse, and ask from the bottom of my heart that you grant me clemency and commute my sentence, so that together with my wife I can rebuild my life and leave a better legacy than the one I currently have.


Jonathan J. Pollard

See Also:

  • Pollard Attorneys Renew Appeal for Clemency
  • Remorse Page