‘It’s as if my feet still haven’t hit the ground’; Trump grants clemency to Lombard man serving life for conspiracy to distribute marijuanaPosted by On


mike sandrolini photo The Independent
Lombard man pardoned by Trump
Craig Cesal of Lombard was granted clemency by now former President Donald Trump on Trump’s last day in office, Jan. 19. He had been serving a life sentence for conspiracy to distribute marijuana since 2003.

By Mike Sandrolini

For the Independent

Craig Cesal, who was sentenced to life in federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana in October 2003, anxiously awaited a life-changing phone call from the White House on the final full day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The day before, on Jan. 18, Cesal got word that the White House wanted the best phone number at which to reach him because Trump was to announce clemencies at noon Jan. 19 … and Cesal was on the list.

However, noon came and went. Cesal, 61, told the Independent he waited by the phone the entire day and into the night. No phone call. He finally decided to go to bed at 10 p.m.

“I was kind of depressed thinking this might be a letdown,” he said, concluding that Trump had decided not to grant him clemency. “ ‘I’m back to where I’ve been for the last 19 years.’ ”

But after around 11 p.m., Cesal said the phone rang.

“A woman told me, ‘This is Ivanka Trump from the White House calling.’ ”

He said the president’s daughter then “said the words I’ll never forget: ‘The president has commuted…

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mike sandrolini photo The Independent
Lombard man pardoned by Trump
Craig Cesal of Lombard was granted clemency by now former President Donald Trump on Trump’s last day in office, Jan. 19. He had been serving a life sentence for conspiracy to distribute marijuana since 2003.

By Mike Sandrolini

For the Independent

Craig Cesal, who was sentenced to life in federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana in October 2003, anxiously awaited a life-changing phone call from the White House on the final full day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The day before, on Jan. 18, Cesal got word that the White House wanted the best phone number at which to reach him because Trump was to announce clemencies at noon Jan. 19 … and Cesal was on the list.

However, noon came and went. Cesal, 61, told the Independent he waited by the phone the entire day and into the night. No phone call. He finally decided to go to bed at 10 p.m.

“I was kind of depressed thinking this might be a letdown,” he said, concluding that Trump had decided not to grant him clemency. “ ‘I’m back to where I’ve been for the last 19 years.’ ”

But after around 11 p.m., Cesal said the phone rang.

“A woman told me, ‘This is Ivanka Trump from the White House calling.’ ”

He said the president’s daughter then “said the words I’ll never forget: ‘The president has commuted…



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