John Dowd, President Trump’s former lead lawyer on the Mueller investigation who is reported to have discussed presidential pardons with attorneys for Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, has direct experience in successfully obtaining presidential pardons for embattled political figures.
In the waning weeks of the Clinton Administration, Dowd moved quickly to prepare a petition for a presidential pardon for former Arizona Governor J. Fife Symington III.
In late 2000, Symington was facing a federal retrial on bank and wire fraud charges related to his work as a commercial real estate developer prior to being elected Arizona governor in 1992. Federal prosecutors offered Symington a choice of either pleading guilty to one felony account with no prison time and paying a $60,000 fine, or stand trial on 17 charges.
Dowd had represented Symington during the initial criminal trial in 1997. The jury returned six guilty verdicts and Symington resigned as governor. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison but never spent a day behind bars. The judge allowed Symington to remain free pending an appeal.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals over turned the verdicts in 1999 ruling that the trial judge improperly removed a juror that had refused to participate in deliberations while insisting that Symington was innocent of all charges.
“Throughout this investigative and prosecutive nightmare, Fife Symington has been open, candid and forthright in dealing with the allegations against him,” Dowd wrote in an affidavit attached to the pardon petition. “He conducted himself with great courage, dignity and grace in the face of public ridicule and humiliation.”
Dowd claimed that Symington “demonstrated every day his respect and support for our system of laws, notwithstanding the terrible injustice visited upon his and his family for 10 years.”
“He put the people of Arizona first by resigning his office in the face of unjust jury verdict,” Dowd wrote.
President Clinton pardoned Symington on his last day in office as prosecutors were preparing to file 17 charges.© Copyright 2018 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA
John Dowd knew that his client’s conviction had been overturned on the slimmest of technicalities… and that the pending retrial ( this time without a 74 year old incoherent juror ) would certainly find his Symington guilty once again. Perhaps on ALL 21 counts of fraud this time, instead of just 7.
So he tried the ‘Hail Mary’ pass and requested the presidential pardon.
Dowd knew that his client ( Symington ) had actually saved the sitting president ( Clinton ) from drowning when the two were ‘college buddies’.
It ( the Hail Mary pass ) worked… and the college-years relationship between Symington and Clinton was the real reason Clinton grated the pardon in ( literally ) the final hours of his presidency.
Following the first Symington trial, lawyer John Dowd also ended up the target of the FBI in an official ‘jury tampering’ investigation.
Multiple jurors testified they had received ‘death threats’ during the jury deliberations and several of them ( independently ) swore that the voice on the other end of the phone was lawyer John Dowd. The police had traced the calls to a payphone, taken depositions from all the jurors reporting ‘death threats’… and then turned all the evidence over to the FBI.
Here is a great article detailing what happened with that first trial… including a rambling, incoherent interview with 74 year old juror Mary Jane Cotey, who was the one replaced with an alternate juror during the original deliberations…