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Trump says he may pardon Muhammad Ali — but lawyer says it's 'unnecessary'

President Donald Trump says he may pardon another late heavyweight boxing champion — this time, Muhammad Ali. He was convicted for draft evasion in 1967, but the Supreme Court reversed that decision in 1971.

Boxing great's 1967 conviction was already reversed by Supreme Court in 1971

U.S. President Donald Trump says he is considering a pardon for late boxing icon Muhammad Ali, whose draft-evasion conviction was reversed in 1971. (Charles Harrity, File/Associated Press)

President Donald Trump says he may pardon another late heavyweight boxing champion — this time, Muhammad Ali, whose draft-evasion conviction was reversed 47 years ago.

Ali, who died on June 3, 2016, refused to enter the military during the Vietnam War, declaring himself a conscientious objector. His decision resulted in a conviction in 1967 and Ali was stripped of his heavyweight boxing crown as a result.

Ali's legal fight ended in 1971, however, when the Supreme Court reversed the conviction 8-0, so a presidential pardon might be superfluous. Ron Tweel, the lawyer for Ali's estate and his widow, Lonnie, issued a statement Friday morning calling Trump's potential pardon "unnecessary." Louisville, Ky.

Tweel, reached by telephone at his home in Virginia, said the White House had not contacted him or Ali's widow about a potential pardon. He said he had been in contact with Lonnie Ali after Trump's comments and they decided to issue a statement on behalf of the family.

"We heard what he was contemplating and it needed a response," he said. The White House did not immediately comment on the lawyer's statement.

Trump told reporters before departing for the G7 summit in Quebec that he's looking at "thousands of names" of people who could be granted clemency.

Trump has already granted a posthumous pardon to boxing's first black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson — convicted of violating a law that made it illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes.

Earlier this week, the president commuted the life sentence of a woman whose cause was championed by Kim Kardashian West.

With files from CBC News and Reuters

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