Abraham Bolden, the first Black Secret Service agent to serve on White House detail, was one of three people receiving a presidential pardon from President Joe Biden on April 26.
Bolden, who served on President John F. Kennedy’s detail, was charged in 1964 with offenses related to allegedly attempting to sell a copy of a Secret Service file. The Chicago-based former agent, now 87, has always maintained that charges against him were trumped up. He argued he was “targeted for prosecution in retaliation for exposing unprofessional and racist behavior within the U.S. Secret Service,” the White House said in announcing Biden’s clemency action.
Charged with bribery in a case involving a counterfeiting defendant, Bolden was tried twice, convicted, and sentenced to six years in prison. He began his sentence in June 1966 and served three years and three months in prison before being released on two-and-a-half years’ probation.
In his 2008 book, “The Echo From Dealey Plaza,” Bolden wrote that he was charged after he accused other agents assigned to Kennedy’s detail of drinking the night before Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 and being generally derelict in their duty to secure the president’s safety, People reported.
The chief accuser against Bolden was a counterfeiter named Frank Jones, whom Bolden had arrested in 1963. Jones, who himself was facing charges, testified against Bolden. After Bolden was convicted, Jones’s charges were dismissed.
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Biden pardoned two other people and commuted the sentences of 75 more serving long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, who, under current guidelines, would be serving less time, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Biden also granted clemency to Betty Jo Bogans, 51, of Texas, and Dexter Jackson, 52, of Athens, Georgia. Bogans, a single mother with no prior record, was convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine after attempting to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice. Jackson was convicted in 2002 for using his pool hall to facilitate marijuana trafficking.
Photo: Abraham Bolden courtesy Geoffrey Black, fair use image, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107