NY Times Report Indicates John Dowd Pushing Trump to Pardon Billy Walters

Posted on: January 17, 2021, 10:48h. 

Last updated on: January 18, 2021, 10:45h.

The New York Times reported Sunday that as the Trump Administration counts down its final days, a “lucrative market for pardons” has emerged. Lawyers and others connected with President Trump have used that access to cash in and offer their access to people seeking pardons.

John Dowd Billy Walters
John Dowd, seen here in a 2015 photo for the Emory University School of Law, is reportedly pursuing a presidential pardon for sports bettor Billy Walters. Walters is currently finishing a five-year federal insider trading sentence through home incarceration. (Image: Emery Law News Center)

Among those the Times reveals seeking that presidential power is noted Las Vegas gambler and insider trading convict Billy Walters. The Gray Lady said attorney John Dowd received “tens of thousands of dollars” to represent Walters. However, so far, President Trump has not issued a pardon in the case.

Dowd served as Trump’s lead counsel on the Robert Mueller-led investigation regarding Russian interference and the 2016 Presidential election, until he resigned in March 2018 over differences in opinion in handling the case.

After leaving the Trump legal team, he took on Walters as a client. When exactly that happened is uncertain. Walters received a five-year prison sentence in July 2017.

…Mr. Dowd told Mr. Walters and others that he would soon obtain a pardon for his client using his access to the White House, and because Mr. Walters had been investigated by prosecutors in Manhattan and the FBI,” the newspaper reported Sunday.

Dowd told the Times he never made such a claim to anyone about getting a pardon. He did not answer other questions.

Casino.org reached out to Walters Sunday for comment. A spokesperson acknowledged the request, but had not responded by Sunday evening.

Walters’ attempts to overturn his conviction ended in October 2019 when the US Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

Trump’s term ends at noon this Wednesday, with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Walters Finishing Sentence at Home

Walters made headlines on a couple of occasions in 2020. The first came when the US Bureau of Prisons released him from a Florida federal prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence at his Carlsbad, Calif., home.

Walters qualified for home incarceration under the CARES Act. A provision allowed the BOP to transfer some prisoners to home incarceration because of the COVID pandemic.

“I am extremely grateful to be in the safe environment of my home, with my loving family, during this pandemic,” Walters said in a May 5 statement, issued days after his release. “At 73 (he turned 74 on July 15), I feel quite healthy and will follow all of the guidelines for staying that way.”

In October, Walters filed a federal lawsuit against six former federal officials. He claimed they leaked secret grand jury information to reporters, then worked to conceal that effort. Court records in that case indicate a judge issued summonses in the case last week. He also urged top Justice Department officials to investigate former US Attorney Preet Bharara and former FBI Supervisory Agent David Chaves.

A federal jury convicted Walters on 10 counts of insider trading connected to US dairy giant Dean Foods. Prosecutors said Walters used information from then-company Chairman Tom Davis to buy and sell the stock. Davis, they claimed, owed debts to Walters.

In addition to the prison sentence, the court ordered Walters to forfeit more than $25 million in profits from the trade. He also paid the Texas company $8.9 million in restitution.

Dowd’s History with Sports Betting

This isn’t the first time Dowd’s has been connected with sports betting.

In 1989, the former federal prosecutor led a special investigation into Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose. The report looked at Rose’s tenure as manager and the latter stages of his record-breaking playing career. It determined that he did bet on the Reds.

That bombshell report led to Rose’s banishment from the game and subsequent exclusion from the Hall of Fame.

Rose in an interview last year admitted he has placed bets on baseball games in recent years. Late last month, he started serving as a national spokesman for a tout service operated by one-time Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root.

Dowd has also been quoted in a couple of articles that have covered aspects of Walters’ case.

In a May 29, 2018, Bloomberg Law article that compares Walters’ complaints about FBI leaks to ones also made by President Trump, Dowd was quoted as an attorney who defended another client facing insider trading charges years prior.

Nearly two years prior, Dowd spoke to GOLF Magazine’s Michael Bamberger about golfer Phil Mickelson’s role in Walters’ case.

The five-time major winner escaped prosecution in the insider trading case himself after the US Securities and Exchange Commission found that Mickelson made nearly $1 million in Dean stock trades after acting on a tip from Walters. The golfer then used some of those proceeds to pay gambling debts he owed to Walters.

Mickelson eventually paid a nearly $1 million fine to the SEC.

“When you owe a large sum of money to someone like Billy Walters, he owns you,” Dowd told Bamberger in the article.