×
January 12, 2019

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday issued posthumous pardons for the "Groveland Four," four black men — Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas — who were wrongly convicted of raping a white girl, Norma Padgett, near Orlando in 1949.

"I don't think there's any way that you can look at this case and see justice was carried out," DeSantis said. "For the Groveland Four, the truth was buried. The perpetrators celebrated, but justice has cried out from that day until this." The Florida State House issued an apology to the four men's families in 2017.

Padgett, who was 17 at the time of her accusation, claimed she was raped while her car was broken down. Shepherd and Irvin said they did stop to help Padgett with her car trouble but denied assaulting her; Greenlee, also only 17, was arrested 20 miles away and said he did not know the other three. However, after being tortured by police in jail, Greenlee and Shepherd confessed to the crime.

Thomas escaped and was murdered after being tracked in a large-scale manhunt. The other three were convicted by all-white juries. Irvin and Shepherd were sentenced to death and Greenlee to life, and a retrial was ordered in 1951. Shepherd was fatally shot by a sheriff who claimed he attempted to escape; Irvin was also shot but survived by pretending to be dead. He said the sheriff attempted to execute the two men by the side of the road while they lay cuffed to each other.

Irvin's death sentence was commuted to life in prison. He was paroled in 1968 and died in 1969. Greenlee was paroled in 1962 and lived until 2012. At Friday's pardon hearing, Padgett continued to insist on the Groveland Four's guilt. Bonnie Kristian

5:00 p.m.

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) isn't completely convinced of President Trump's self-described exoneration.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his investigation of the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding Russian election interference to Attorney General Barr on Friday. On Sunday, Barr shared preliminary conclusions from the report with congressional Judiciary Committees, notably saying that Mueller's report "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Still, Barr conceded that Trump "may have acted to obstruct justice," as Nadler put it in a series of tweets after receiving the letter. And while Barr said there wasn't enough evidence to charge Trump on that crime, Nadler's tweets implied that he'd like Barr to take a bit more time before drawing that conclusion, since Barr said he's still reviewing Mueller's report. Nadler also pledged to call Barr to testify before his committee "in the near future."

Read what's in Barr's letter to Congress here. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:50 p.m.

There has been a lot of uncertainty as to just how much of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's conduct amid Russian election interference would be made available to Congress and the public. That still remains unclear after Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Congress briefing them on the "principle conclusions" of Mueller's investigation.

However, Barr did say that he intends to release as much of the report as possible, CNN reports.

He also said that Mueller will be involved in redaction efforts, particularly in terms of removing secret jury testimony, as well as material that is pertinent to ongoing investigations that have branched off from Mueller's initial investigation.

Barr wrote that once that process is complete he will "move forward expeditiously in determining" what can officially be revealed. Tim O'Donnell

4:33 p.m.

The White House on Sunday called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference a "total and complete exoneration" of President Trump.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reached this conclusion in a statement, saying that Mueller "did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction."

Mueller's report did not find that Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election, according to Attorney General William Barr, although it did not make a determination on whether he obstructed justice. Barr quotes Mueller as saying that "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Barr says that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that there is not sufficient evidence to show Trump obstructed justice.

Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, similarly told CNN on Sunday that the report is a "complete exoneration" of Trump. Brendan Morrow

4:17 p.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday celebrated the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not conclude President Trump or his associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Graham, a close ally of Trump, in a statement released after Attorney General William Barr's summary of the Mueller report said this is a "great day for President Trump and his team," adding that the report shows there was "no collusion and no obstruction," per Bloomberg News. Graham also said that "the cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report."

Barr's report said that Mueller's investigation "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election." It did not reach a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice. Brendan Morrow

4:05 p.m.

Attorney General William Barr said he's still reviewing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference in 2016. But he has outlined the principal conclusions of the investigation in a letter to Congress.

"I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel," he wrote in the letter.

Read Barr's letter to Congress below or on the House Judiciary Committee's website. Tim O'Donnell

4:02 p.m.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn't conclude in his report that President Trump committed a crime or coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election, Attorney General William Barr told Congress on Sunday.

Barr on Sunday delivered his memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions from Mueller's 22-month investigation into Russian election interference. It says that Mueller's report "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election," CNN reports.

Barr's report also says that Mueller did not reach a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice, which "leaves it to the attorney general to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime." Therefore, Mueller writes that "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Barr's memo to Congress was four pages long and contained his own summary of what Mueller concluded along with quotes from the report. Democrats and Republicans have both called for the full report to be released. Brendan Morrow

2:04 p.m.

Nearly everyone wants Attorney General William Barr to release the entire report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference. It's fair to count Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) among those ranks. Sort of.

He did, after all, contribute to a nearly-unanimous House vote in favor of releasing the full report. And when the congressman called into Sunday's edition of Fox & Friends, he admitted to Fox's Katie Pavlich, per Mediaite, that President Trump should, indeed, declassify everything in the report.

Nunes just doesn't really care what it says.

He said that he wants to do away with what he considers a "partisan" investigation altogether. In fact, he wants to burn it. Watch the clip below. Tim O'Donnell

Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads