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President Trump issues pardons for South Dakotans

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 7:42 AM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In his last full day of office Tuesday, President Donald Trump issued a long list of commutations and pardons. Those included former chief strategist Steve Bannon, rapper Lil Wayne and a fundraiser for Trump, Elliott Broidy.

In letters sent to the President in November, Governor Kristi Noem advocated for a few presidential pardons for some South Dakotans. President Trump issued three of them Tuesday.

John Nystrom, Jessica Frease and Gregory, Deborah, and Martin Jorgensen were granted pardons. Governor Noem thanked the President in a statement released overnight Wednesday.

“I am tremendously thankful to President Trump for his support of these three pardons,” Governor Noem said. “The Trump administration has done an excellent job balancing justice with forgiveness, and [Tuesday night’s] pardons will provide these individuals with a second chance to continue as productive members of our South Dakota community.”

According to a press release from the White House, Nystrom was working as a contractor on a school reconstruction project over 10 years ago when he learned that a subcontractor was getting double payments. He didn’t notify anyone about it, but he eventually took full responsibility and has since paid his restitution in full.

Jessica Frease was convicted of converting stolen checks and negotiating them through the bank where she was a teller. She gave the stolen funds immediately to the authorities after she was arrested. She was granted early termination of her supervised release because of her commendable conduct.

Gregory and Deborah Jorgensen are husband and wife. Gregory’s dad is Martin. Martin passed away in 2019, so he is receiving the pardon posthumously. Also according to the press release from the White House, Gregory and Martin sold beef under the Dakota Lean brand as heart-healthy and antibiotic-free. When demand overcame supply, the three of them mixed in commercial beef trim and misbranded the beef.

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