It made a certain type of news yesterday when President Bush, otherwise deep in the throes of late-stage metastatic irrelevance, issued 14 presidential pardons and a pair of sentence commutations yesterday. Anxious readers are hereby assured that former Giants WR Mark Ingram (above) remains safely locked away, and that Bush’s pardons follow his usual pardoning pattern of stingy randomness — a woman sentenced for unauthorized acquisition of food stamps; a couple of environmental criminals; a few embezzlers.
So, yeah: the usual, pretty much, although former Fugees weed-carrier and noted Nena-sampler John Forte did get his 14 year sentence — for allegedly attempting to smuggle $1.4 million of liquid cocaine through Newark Airport — commuted. The story of how that happened — which involves lobbying from Utah Senator Orrin “Ohh-La-La-La” Hatch, Carly Simon, and a rare instance of a hip-hop figure being helped by Exeter connections — is related here. It’s an object lesson in weirdness, but it will hopefully provide something of a framework for gimpy Giants K Lawrence Tynes, who is asking President Bush to reduce his brother Mark’s sentence. The New York Daily News‘ Brendan Brosh reports:
[Mark Tynes] was saddled with a prior felony drug charge before his 2004 conviction as kingpin of a syndicate that transported 3,600 pounds of marijuana between Texas and Florida. [He] refused to cooperate with prosecutors – and his sentence was extended from 151 months to 324 months over allegations of witness intimidation. Without presidential help, Tynes isn’t scheduled to leave prison until November 2026.
Ortiz, who plans to submit the paperwork for a commutation next week, said he doesn’t think Mark Tynes will benefit from the President’s well-documented sports mania. But he’s hopeful Lawrence Tynes’ notoriety can help.
“Because Lawrence is high-profile, this will get people to look at the story and take a look at what happened to Mark,” Ortiz said. Mark Tynes, inmate No. 05559-017 at the Forrest City Federal Correctional Complex in Arkansas, is doing more time than some convicted killers.
As Lawrence Tynes noted in an interview with Daily News columnist Mike Lupica in January: “Is my brother guilty?” Yes? But 27 years? … My brother being in prison isn’t the injustice. The sentence was the injustice.” Four co-conspirators, who turned against Mark Tynes and cooperated with authorities, are out of jail.
“Sports maniac” that he is, Bush may actually be sympathetic to entreaties on behalf of a supposed drug kingpin who’s related to an injured kicker. But Forte’s all-star lobbying team should be an example to Tynes as he continues to pursue this case. Leo Sayer and Rep. Don Nickles? Roberta Flack and Sen. John Thune? Surely there’s some combination of ’70s pop star and conservative politician who can advance Tynes’ case.