CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 15, 2001
Re Carlos Vignali's pardon, Feb. 11-13: I defended one of Carlos Vignali's co-defendants during his trial in federal court in Minnesota on drug charges, and I recall the case quite well. Essentially, the government alleged that Vignali introduced some small-time drug dealers to a large-scale cocaine supplier. For such conduct, and with no prior record, Vignali served six years in prison out of a 15-year sentence. Six years in prison constitutes enough punishment for what Vignali did. President Clinton and the people who came to his assistance should be applauded for at least providing some justice in his situation, regardless of how it came about.
February 12, 2001 |
President Clinton released a convicted Los Angeles cocaine dealer from federal prison after influential congressmen and city leaders personally lobbied the White House and the Justice Department to secure his commutation, it was learned Sunday. The concerted effort to free Carlos Vignali included a series of personal contacts between California Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) and the White House, and correspondence from former California Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa.
March 30, 2002
Re "Informants Named Vignali's Father," March 26: I have been employed as a police officer for the past 19 years and am appalled at L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca's endorsement of clemency for Carlos Vignali. I hope that, before his decision to endorse Vignali, Baca took into account the numerous law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the war against drugs. Baca said he is disgusted that the White House did not do due diligence in the Vignali matter. Well, Sheriff Baca, I am disgusted with you for even considering Vignali for clemency.
February 11, 2001 |
In the waning days of his presidency, Bill Clinton promised to use his clemency powers to help low-level drug offenders languishing in prison. When Carlos Vignali walked out of prison on Jan. 20 and returned home to his family in Los Angeles, he appeared to fit the broad outlines of that profile. But the 30-year-old Vignali, who had served six years of a 15-year sentence for federal narcotics violations, fit another profile entirely.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2001 |
"Xavier Becerra . . . in the News" reads a cheery handmade sign that hangs prominently over an assortment of newspaper clippings tacked to the wall in the congressman's mayoral campaign headquarters. Conspicuously absent from the collection are the recent news stories about local politicians who took up the cause of a Los Angeles man convicted on drug charges. These are not the stories that Becerra wants dominating the news just as the mayor's race is beginning to capture public attention.
February 28, 2001 |
Prosecutors in New York have convened a federal grand jury to begin collecting potential evidence for their investigation of the pardon of fugitive commodities broker Marc Rich. The jury already has issued subpoenas and is collecting the fund-raising "lists and documents" for Bill Clinton's presidential library--a clear sign that it is looking for evidence of a quid pro quo between the Rich pardon and donations to the former president.