Trump Pardons Former 49ers Team Owner Over 1998 Felony Charge

President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., who owned the San Francisco 49ers football team for 23 years and pleaded guilty in 1998 to failing to report an alleged extortion attempt.

The pardon for the felony charge was announced by White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, who didn’t explain why the president pardoned DeBartolo. Pastor Darrell Scott, an informal adviser to Trump, said at the White House that the pardon concerned “transgressions of years ago.”

“I take my hat off to Donald Trump for what he did,” former San Francisco 49er wide receiver Jerry Rice said. Rice won three Super Bowls with the team while DeBartolo was owner.

DeBartolo never served prison time in connection with the case, in which he testified that former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards demanded $400,000 from him for a riverboat casino license.

Edwards was charged with racketeering and conspiracy related to the granting of casino licenses.

DeBartolo received two years probation and was fined $1 million on the condition that he cooperate with the prosecution in the case against Edwards.

The NFL fined DeBartolo $1 million and suspended him through the 1999 season after the owner pleaded guilty to a felony charge relating to his pursuit of a riverboat gambling license in Louisiana.

DeBartolo resigned as the San Francisco 49ers chairman and chief executive in December of 1997, as federal prosecutors were preparing to charge him.

In 2016, DeBartolo was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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