Gary Hendler, left, was stunned on Wednesday morning on discovering Donald Trump had pardoned him for a 36 year-old drug conviction (Pictures: Facebook/AP)
A radio host is mystified after Donald Trump unexpectedly pardoned him for a historic drugs conviction. Gary Hendler, 67, said ‘I couldn’t f**king believe it,’ on discovering he’d been cleared of a 1984 drugs conspiracy charge by the former president on Wednesday, despite not lobbying him for a pardon.
Hendler, from Ardmore in Pennsylvania, added: ‘It was his last night in the White House. I know he was going to pardon people. Did I think I would be on the list? It was so remote it wasn’t even funny.’ The broadcaster had previously applied to Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama to ask for a pardon, in 2016.
Hendler sent a 90 page document supporting his application, and was interviewed by FBI agents about the request, but never heard back. He checked Trump’s pardon list after it was released in the early hours of Wednesday out of casual curiosity, and was stunned to see his name on it.
The married radio host, who voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, broke town in tears on realizing his name had been cleared, saying: ‘It’s the final chapter, the closing of my life in addiction, and all the horrible things that come with it.’
Hendler helped set up a white-collar drug dealing operation, but has since spend decades sober, and helping other addicts to overcome their problems (Picture: Facebook)
Hendler got hooked on recreational drug quaaludes in 1973, while working a glittering and hedonistic job at Universal records aged just 19. He spent a decade as an addict. That saw Hendley and three other adults opened a fraudulent ‘stress clinic’ – complete with psychiatrist – to prescribe quaaludes to anyone who wanted them.
That business, Health Centers Inc, was raided in 1984, three years after Hendley severed ties, and two years after he’d gone into rehab and sobered up.
Despite having turned his life around, Hendler’s name was still on corporate papers, so he struck a plea deal which saw him admit the conspiracy charge in return for non-custodial sentence, and $300 fine.
Hendler continued to work to turn over a new leaf, setting up an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Philadelphia in 1985 that still continues. He also hosts a radio show, Clean and Sober Radio, which sees well-known figures detailing their addictions, and how they beat them.
Others pardoned by Trump include his 2016 election svenagli Steve Bannon, who had been facing fraud charges (Picture: AFP)
Hendler’s activism saw him appointed to Pennsylvania’s Advisory Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse by State Governor Tom Wolfe in 2015.
Those combined efforts ultimately let to his pardon, with Trump’s statement praising him for ‘mentoring’ other people working to become sober, and become an ‘integral’ part of addicts’ lives as they sought to reform themselves.
Margaret Love, who worked as Hendler’s pardon attorney, explained that the pardon request had eventually made its way through the official channels, and onto President Trump’s desk. Hendley’s plea succeeded after being given support from former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as well as the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
She told NBC News: ‘It was totally regular. No special pleading or influence peddling. Out of the 149 grants, only 18 went through the Justice Department process. He’s a lucky camper.’
Many of President Trump’s pardons went to friends and cronies, including his 2016 election campaign svengali Steve Bannon, who had been facing serious fraud charges.
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