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
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.