Carly Simon's Connection to the Bush Rapper/Drug Commutation
Everyone knows you need connections to get a pardon from the President. When I first wrote up President Bush's pardons, the two that stood out to me were the commutations to time served for two drug offenders.
The mystery as to one of these two, the commutation of John Forte, has been solved. It's Carly Simon, who appealed to Orrin Hatch, who owed her for having recorded one of his songs. Gawker has the details.
Step One: John Forte goes to Exeter, makes friends with Carly Simon's kid, then makes friends with Carly Simon.
Step Two: John Forte goes to jail.
Step Three: Carly Simon records one of Orrin Hatch's soulful ballads and then is like "Okay now you owe me, old man."
Here's Carly in her own words pleading Fort's case. [More...]
As to Forte's crime:
Forte was busted in July 2000 carrying 31 pounds of liquid cocaine at Newark Airport. He claimed he was delivering a package for a friend, but was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 14 years in prison.
Other actions Sen. Hatch took to help Forte:
In 2005, the senator convinced the Justice Department to move Forte from a Pennsylvania prison to one at Fort Dix, NJ, just 25 minutes from his mom's home in New Brunswick.
Hatch also arranged for Forte to have his guitar with him in prison, a perk not afforded many inmates.
Here's Carly on Hatch and his role in the pardon:
Hatch was "key in getting the president to act," Simon glowed. "[Hatch] is not just a Republican but also a great human being," she said. "He couldn't have been more terrific during this entire process.
I think it's great that Forte got his sentence commuted to time served. Good for him that he had the connections. I'm only sorry Bush commuted the sentences of only two drug offenders serving these absurd and draconian sentences.
But Hatch? I think Hatch has now shown he is one of the most hypocritical politicians ever. He's the ultimate drug warrior who has drafted and voted for numerous crime bills that have ratcheted up drug penalties. Tens of thousands are languishing in prisons under bills he wrote or supported that became law. That Hatch picked one offender to champion -- Forte -- to whom he had a personal connection (due to a debt to a famous musician who recorded one of his own songs) is the height of special interests.
I'll agree with Carly Simon that Sen. Hatch is a "great human being" when I see him introduce bills to repeal the unjust drug laws he helped pass in the past. Until then, he's just another Washington power broker who uses power for his own ends.
For Senator Hatch: You're So Vain.
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