Trump has pardoned or commuted 6 Floridians’ sentences in recent weeks

Here’s a rundown of the Floridians affected.
In this Nov. 15 photo, Roger Stone exits federal court Washington. President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued pardons and sentence commutations for 29 people, including Stone.
In this Nov. 15 photo, Roger Stone exits federal court Washington. President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued pardons and sentence commutations for 29 people, including Stone. [ JULIO CORTEZ | AP ]
Published Dec. 24, 2020|Updated Dec. 24, 2020

President Donald Trump this week granted full pardons and commutations to more than two dozen people who were convicted of federal charges, including a handful with connections to Florida, the outgoing president’s adopted home.

For some of his closest allies like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, the White House defended the pardons by calling their indictments “blatant prosecutorial overreach” in a statement.

Critics, on the other hand, call the pardons “naked self interest.”

Related: Pardons and commutations: A look at all 29 of the people Trump forgave

“There are people in federal prison who deserve a pardon,” Adam Schiff, the Democrat chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence tweeted Wednesday. “Some are serving lengthy sentences for non-violent crimes, or have reformed. But who does Trump pardon? Those who lie, cheat or steal for him and his family. There’s no rule of law with Trump. Just naked self-interest.”

On CNN Thursday, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe said Trump “is actively engaged in undermining the system of justice that he is supposed to protect and defend.”

Here is a rundown of the Floridians who made the list in the final weeks of Trump’s presidency.


Batmasian, an attorney who served eight months in federal prison in 2008 for failing to pay the IRS about $250,000 in payroll taxes, was granted a full pardon Wednesday by President Trump. According to the Palm Beach Post, Batmasian and his wife, Marta, were at one time the largest commercial landowners in Boca Raton.

His pardon was backed by GOP Congressman Brian Mast, former Masters champion golfer Bernhard Langer, who lives in Boca Raton, and “many others from the South Florida community,” according to a statement from the White House.

The statement said Batmasian “made overtime payments without withholding for income taxes or FICA contributions. While illegal, Mr. Batmasian recorded all of these payments and made no attempt to hide them when confronted by IRS investigators.”

A Palm Beach Post investigation revealed financial ties between the Batmasians and former Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie, who is awaiting trial for alleged public corruption.


Trump granted McCarty a full pardon for her charge of honest services fraud, to which she pleaded guilty in 2009. McCarty accepted free or discounted hotel rooms from a company that she backed to build the planned hotel at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach. She also steered county business to her husband Kevin.

McCarty served 21 months of a 3½-year prison sentence in a federal prison in Texas.

McCarty’s brother is Brian Ballard, one of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington and a top Trump fundraiser. Ballard’s firm also employs Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general and White House advisor who supported McCarty’s pardon. Christopher Ruddy, West Palm Beach resident and CEO of the right-wing media company Newsmax is also “among those supportive of Ms. McCarty,” according to the White House.

McCarty was elected five times to the Palm Beach County Commission starting in 1990. After McCarty and her husband served their respective sentences, they opened a management consulting business, Cypress Consulting.

Get insights into Florida politics

Get insights into Florida politics

Subscribe to our free Buzz newsletter

We’ll send you a rundown on local, state and national politics coverage every Thursday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Kevin McCarty, a former chairman of the South Florida Water Management District Board, pleaded guilty to felony charges that he failed to report his wife’s crime, according to the Palm Beach Post. He served an eight-month sentence in federal prison and was stripped of his licenses to sell securities.

The Palm Beach Post reported that at a 2015 event at the Gold Coast Tiger Bay Club in Boca Raton, she described her “rise and fall and rise.” She spoke about her 2009 prison transport at Miami International Airport and how it felt to arrive at the federal prison.

“I had shackles that were cutting into my ankles. My waist was surrounded by chains and connected to handcuffs. It was a surreal scene,” she said. Then, describing the lockup: “I felt I had been dropped into a manhole. Life was going on, and nobody was paying attention to the fact that I existed.”


Trump granted a full pardon to Lozada, who was convicted of conspiring to distribute marijuana in 2004. He served 14 months in prison on the conspiracy charge.

Lozada owns a Miami-based wholesale pool equipment distributor. His family emigrated from Cuba in 1998, according to his company’s website, and bought the company in 2004. According to the White House, he employs dozens of people.

His pardon was backed by GOP Congresswoman-elect Maria Elvira Salazar, who is the daughter of Cuban exiles.

In this June 27, 2019 photo, Paul Manafort arrives in court in New York.
In this June 27, 2019 photo, Paul Manafort arrives in court in New York. [ SETH WENIG | AP ]


Manafort, who has a home in Palm Beach Gardens, was one of the first people charged in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

He was prosecuted in two federal courts and later convicted in 2018 by a jury in a federal court in Virginia. He pleaded guilty in Washington and was sentenced last March. In May, Manafort was released to serve the rest of his sentence at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manafort also faced state charges in New York on accusations of giving false information on an application for a mortgage. A New York judge threw out the charges, ruling that the criminal case was too similar to the one in 2018.

Prosecutors appealed that ruling in November.


Like Manafort, longtime Trump ally and confidant Roger Stone was also convicted in Mueller’s investigation for witness tampering, lying to Congress and obstructing the House’s investigation into coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

He was arrested in January 2019 on a seven-count indictment during an FBI raid on his Fort Lauderdale home.

Stone, 68, has “numerous medical conditions,” according to a White House statement. His pardon comes after Trump commuted his sentence in July.

“Due to prosecutorial misconduct by Special Counsel Mueller’s team, Mr. Stone was treated very unfairly,” the statement said. “He was subjected to a pre-dawn raid of his home, which the media conveniently captured on camera. Mr. Stone also faced potential political bias at his jury trial. Pardoning him will help to right the injustices he faced at the hands of the Mueller investigation.”

Stone moved to South Florida from Washington, D.C., in the weeks after 9/11 to work on campaigns, consult corporate clients and write books.

He took a break from the Republican Party in 2012 to help run former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson’s 2012 Libertarian presidential campaign.

In this Aug. 7, 2015 photo, Philip Esformes arrives at the 15th Annual Harold and Carole Pump Foundation Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, in Los Angeles.
In this Aug. 7, 2015 photo, Philip Esformes arrives at the 15th Annual Harold and Carole Pump Foundation Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, in Los Angeles. [ ROB LATOUR | Rob Latour/Invision/AP ]


Esformes, who was convicted of playing a central role in one of the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud cases and paying bribes for favors, had his 20-year sentence commuted by Trump on Tuesday.

At his sentencing in September 2019, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola called Esformes’ scheme to generate thousands of Medicare patients for his chain of assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Miami-Dade “unmatched in our community, if not our country” and said he “violated (the system’s) trust in epic proportions.”

In April 2019, a jury found Esformes guilty of most of the charges brought against him after his 2016 arrest. At trial, convicted healthcare operators, the former hospital administrator and an ex-Ivy League basketball coach testified that Esformes paid them and others hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to buy and sell patients as well as to get Esformes’ son into the University of Pennsylvania.

Esformes made $38 million from Medicare and Medicaid payments between 2010 and 2016.

Trump’s commutation did not overturn an order to repay $44 million to the taxpayer-funded Medicare program and the U.S. government.

“While in prison, Mr. Esformes, who is 52, has been devoted to prayer and repentance and is in declining health,” the White House statement said.

Pam Bondi, former Florida Attorney General.
Pam Bondi, former Florida Attorney General. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]


In addition to backing the pardons of Floridians, Bondi is also listed by the White House as supporting pardons and commutations for James Kassouf, who pled guilty in 1989 for filing a false tax return; Crystal Munoz, who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana based on her role in a marijuana smuggling ring; Tynice Nichole Hall, who served 14 years of an 18-year sentence for allowing her apartment to be used to distribute drugs and Judith Negron, who was sentenced to 35 years for her role as a minority-owner of a healthcare company that was involved in a scheme to defraud the federal government.

Miami Herald staff writer Jay Weaver and McClatchy DC reporter Ben Wieder contributed to this report.