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NBC Hammers Huck’s Pardons and Clemencies

Monday, December 17, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here’s the video from tonight’s NBC News broadcast that Larry Sabato brought up on my show tonight.  Here’s the transcript:

NBC’s BRIAN WILLIAMS: “The Republican front runner in Iowa, the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has been facing increasing scrutiny to go with his increased standing in the polls of late. Tonight our senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers looks at one area critics have been looking at closely, granting clemency to some prisoners in his home state.”

NBC’S LISA MYERS: “Members of Rev. Billy Bennett’s family say they begged Governor Huckabee not to grant clemency to this man, James Maxwell who confessed to murdering Bennett in 1979.”

EDNA BENNETT WARNER: “It’s not fair. Why should he go free?”

MYERS: “The prosecutor also strongly opposed reducing Maxwell’s sentence. But Rev. Bennett’s wife, Edna, says Huckabee told her that Maxwell, who had worked at the Governors mansion, was a changed man, and had become a Christian.”

BENNETT WARNER: “Just because James Maxwell had became a Christian didn’t entitle him to go out and walk the streets.”

MYERS: “Huckabee commuted Maxwell’s sentence in 2000, noting he’d shown remorse. The parole board later freed him.”

HUCKABEE: “In that particular case, he has been a model person outside of the system.”

MYERS: “In all Huckabee granted 1,023 commutations and pardons in 10 years as governor, twice as many as his three predecessors combined. Prosecutor, Larry Jegly, a Democrat, complains many were violent criminals.”

PROSECUTOR LARRY JEGLY: “He used the power of clemency at an astounding rate.”

MYERS: “Prosecutors say many of those freed claimed to have found religion while in prison and were backed by ministers. At the time Huckabee acknowledged that his believe in redemption factored into his decisions. Huckabee allegedly pushed for release of this convicted rapist, Wayne Dumond, who was later convicted of rape and murder. Huckabee says he is not responsible for Dumond’s parole. But three members of the parole board say he personally lobbied them. Huckabee says he is tough on crime, turned down most clemency requests and considered many factors in granting clemency.”

HUCKABEE: “The inmate’s institutional record, a sense of true remorse, and most of all, that there had been many many years pasted from the time in which maybe a crime was committed.”

MYERS: “Maxwell has not committed another crime. But Bennett’s family still says Huckabee was wrong, to let a murderer go free. Lisa Myers, NBC News, Washington.”

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