WEDNESDAY
February 14, 2001
volume 12, no. 45

Cardinal Mahony Regrets Pardon Request Letter



    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13, 01 (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles said on Tuesday that he regretted writing a letter to former President Bill Clinton endorsing the pardon request of a Los Angeles cocaine dealer whose prison sentence was commuted by Clinton on his last day in office.

    Cardinal Mahony said he wrote to the White House in 1996 asking for a review of the case involving Carlos Vignali "to determine is justice has been achieved." Vignali was serving a 15-year prison sentence.

    The Los Angeles Times reported the existence of Cardinal Mahony's letter on Monday. Cardinal Mahony said on Tuesday that he was "approached about the possibility of writing a letter to former President Bill Clinton on behalf of Mr. Carlos Vignali, Jr. The purpose of the letter was to seek a further review of the facts, the law, and the processes used in his case. I made it clear that I was incapable of making a judgment about his guilt or innocence."

    "Regardless of the merits of the case, I made a serious mistake in writing to the president and I broke my decades-long practice of never sending a letter on behalf of any person whom I did not know personally. I apologize for not following my own principles in this matter," he said. The cardinal did not say who requested the letter in support of Vignali and he did not return telephone calls from reporters seeking clarification.

    Vignali was convicted for his pivotal role in a cocaine ring that sold over 800 pounds of the illegal narcotic across the US.


February 14, 2001
volume 12, no. 45
USA News
www.DailyCatholic.org
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