Aug 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump pardons felon Jon Ponder ahead of RNC appearance

Founder of Hope for Prisoners Jon Ponder speaks with US President Donald Trump

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump pardoned Jon Ponder, a convicted bank robber turned activist, ahead of Ponder's Tuesday night appearance at the Republican National Convention.

What they're saying: In a pre-recorded clip, Trump said, "He has created one of the most successful reentry programs, Hope For Prisoners, in Las Vegas. Hope for Prisoners is a movement that began as a dream, in a tiny prison cell, and is now making a difference in the lives of thousands, truly bringing hope that there is an opportunity and a community that is waiting and willing to offer them a second chance," per Fox.

Before night two of the RNC, Trump described Ponder's story as "a beautiful testament to the power of redemption."

Background: Ponder started the nonprofit as a post-prison re-entry program.

  • He is a three-time convicted felon, and was granted clemency by the Nevada Board of Pardons for past battery convictions earlier this year.

The state of play: Ponder will speak at the convention the FBI agent who arrested him, Fox News reports.

Trump's pardon removes a federal bank robbery charge from Ponder's record.

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