Federal judge lashes out at Trump, calls him ‘criminal’

Jurist unleashes diatribe against president, could be violation of ethics rules

December 30, 2020

A federal judge has unleashed a diatribe against President Trump, calling him a “criminal,” in statements that are being seen as violations of ethics rules for the judiciary.

It was the Associated Press whose reporter interviewed Robert Pratt, a federal judge in the Southern District of Iowa who now is on senior status and carries a reduced workload.

Pratt claimed, “It’s not surprising that a criminal like Trump pardons other criminals. But apparently to get a pardon, one has to be either a Republican, a convicted child murderer or a turkey.”

The report explained, “Pratt was referring to pardons Trump granted to his former campaign aides convicted during the special counsel’s Russia inquiry, former GOP congressmen who committed crimes, and security contractors convicted of killing innocent civilians in Iraq. Trump also pardons turkeys — this year two from Iowa — annually before Thanksgiving.”

Pratt, appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1997, moved to a partial workload in 2012, and was responding to a question about pardons granted to two former aides for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, Jesse Benton and John Tate.

There were convicted for a scheme related to the Iowa caucuses that also involved others, including state Sen. Kent Sorenson.

The report noted Pratt had a personal role in the situation, overseeing a trial for Sorenson, who reportedly got $73,000 in payments in exchange for Sorenson’s endorsement of Paul.

Sorenson “made news when he defected as Michele Bachmann’s campaign chairman to endorse Paul days before the 2012 caucuses,” the report said.

Pratt eventually sentenced Sorenson to 15 months in prison even though prosecutors recommended probation.

However, constitutional expert Jonathan Turley, a lawyer, legal scholar, commentator and professor at the George Washington University Law School, wrote that the comments from Pratt were “troub….


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